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New trash trucks and totes could be rolling by June

The CVRD is getting ready to roll out its new trash tote program after it was approved Wednesday.  -
The CVRD is getting ready to roll out its new trash tote program after it was approved Wednesday.
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Three new trash and recycling trucks should arrive by May's end after Cowichan's regional directors OKed a bylaw Wednesday to borrow up to $1.775 million for the special rigs, plus curbside totes.

Jason Adair, regional solid-waste manager, said four bids are being mulled to buy those 17,500 totes, toward a June 1 start of the region's publicly run tote-and-truck plan.

The  tote and truck plan will cost about $50,000 less than expected, so that sum won't be borrowed from the Municipal Finance Authority, he noted.

Mill Bay Director Mike Walker wanted "a pause" on the equipment buying Wednesday — and opposed the AAP borrowing process —  but he did not vote against the borrowing bylaw passed by the Cowichan Valley Regional District board.

Loan approval followed a controversial alternative approval process where about 1,200 residents' names — half of the required number needed — were formally gained, opposing the public garbage and recycling plan.

The loan will stretch across 15 years at 3.48%.

The wheel-equipped totes will be assembled and distributed, by the chosen firm, to homes in all regional areas outside municipal boundaries, by mid-May, Adair added.

Also, anticipating the bylaw's passing, staff sifted five bids for the three new trucks costing almost $900,000.

"We'll send the purchase order today to buy three trucks through Cowichan PNR Western Star," said Adair.

"They're built to order and take about five months to build. We hope to have them here for May 1.

"Two drivers will be hired, from internal postings, and trained on these trucks in the meantime."

A role by private trash and recycling collectors, haulers and processors was also discussed between some local firms and CVRD engineering services' staff Monday.

That role, explained Adair, could see more large recyclables, such as mattresses and couches, handled by locals as the CVRD tries to cut its trash tonnage shipped for about $3 million annually to a landfill in Rebanco, Washington.

Cowichan's Marpole Transport currently hauls that trash stateside.

Steel Pacific, Johel Brothers, Active, and Coast Environmental also have some contracted recycling work with the CVRD.

"For example, we're looking a diverting about 5,000 mattresses here that now go to landfill every year, and we're counting on the private sector to solve that problem for us," Adair said of a bidding system.

Ross Tenant, vice-president of the South Cowichan Chamber of Commerce, was glad folks from about eight local companies, plus local stakeholders, met with CVRD staff to discuss keeping trash and recycling jobs here.

"We've asked them to take careful look at their costs, versus bids by our private waste haulers, to collect and process waste here — we just want the CVRD to do it in a fair and balanced way," he said.

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