Opinion

Garbage plan offers better service at a cheaper cost

Following the lead of such jurisdictions as Port Alberni, Port Coquitlam and the Regional District of the Central Okanagan, the CVRD is proposing to modernize curbside collection services in the electoral areas by shifting away from a traditional manual collection system to automated curbside collection.

Such an in-house service has proven to provide excellent value for residents. It brings quality service, long-term stability, lower costs and, no unexpected price hikes. In the CVRD electoral areas, it is expected the new service will initially lower present costs by $1 to 11 dollars per home and keep rates stable in the long term. It can even increase recycling rates. Some areas have seen an increase of up to 30 per cent in recycling.

The CVRD’s mandate is to provide the best services possible at the best price to our residents and taxpayers. The local solid waste collection market is very fractured due the small size of service areas and the diversity of local governments.

The CVRD is proposing to borrow up to a maximum of $1,775,000, at no additional cost to the taxpayer, to fund the purchase of three fully automated, dual-compartment curbside collection trucks and easy-roll totes for users in all nine electoral areas. As a local government, we can access long-term, low-rate (3.57%) financing. That results in a direct benefit to customers.

While this is a change for the CVRD in how the service is delivered, there will be no noticeable change to residents. Those electoral areas that receive recycling services only, like South Cowichan, will continue to have much of their garbage collected by PAN Disposal, while the service will remain the same for the areas receiving both garbage and recycling.  In addition, the CVRD’s 12,000 electoral area residents will pay less than they do now in household fees to receive curbside collection services that presently include contractor collection, garbage disposal and program administration by the CVRD. A draft budget is available at zerowastecowichan.ca.

We undertook one of our broadest awareness campaigns between August and October:

• mailed-out pamphlets to the region’s 12,000 residents

•  detailed information at zerowastecowichan.ca

• six regional open houses

• posted answers to residents’ questions about new totes, curbside household fees and more at zerowastecowichan.ca/talk-it-up/road-zero-blog.

• did media interviews, and newspaper and radio advertisements

• gave presentations to community groups and members of the public.

Visit zerowastecowichan.ca/curbside, connect with us on Facebook (Zero Waste Cowichan) or directly at es@cvrd.bc.ca or 250-746-2540.

Residents who do not support the proposal are encouraged to submit an elector response form by Nov. 26. These are available at the CVRD office or online at cvrd.bc.ca.

The CVRD is focused on working with residents to make the curbside program a success and help the region meet its goal of Zero Waste. We welcome the discussion.

Rob Hutchins is chairman of the CVRD.

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