The City of Castlegar recognized the nominees for the 2018 Snow Buster Awards at Monday night’s council meeting. (Betsy Kline/Castlegar News)

Castlegar council looks at garbage rates

COUNCIL BRIEFS: Yard waste facility, Pavilion Contract, Bloomer Creek remediation on agenda.

Castlegar council started off Monday night’s meeting with a moment of silence for the victims of the Humboldt Broncos tragedy.

A vigil in support of the Broncos will be held at the Castlegar Arena Thursday, April 12 at 6:30 p.m.

Garbage fee bylaw

Council passed the first three readings of the 2018 garbage rate bylaw.

Pending final adoption of the bylaw, the garbage collection levy will be decreased by $20 to $90 per year. However, a new Yard Waste Compost Facility fee of $32 per year will be added bringing the total amount to $122, which is the same amount residents were paying in 2015.

In 2016 council set the following goals: strive for zero waste in the long term, strive for a short-term waste diversion rate of 50 per cent (up from the 2006 rate of 26.7 per cent) in the next five years, strive for a reduction in annual tonnage of waste sent to the landfill by 50 per cent in the next five years and strive for a residential recycling participation rate of 75 per cent (up from 45 per cent) in the next three years.

After one year, recycling tonnages increased by 130 per cent and garbage tonnage fell by 12 per cent.

Council documents explained: “When calculated as a new waste diversion rate, the city was at 51 per cent in the first year, already exceeding the five-year goal.

“This was proof positive that the program changes had the desired effect. In addition, by changing to an alternating-week garbage/recycling pickup program, less garbage collection and more recycling achieved cost savings.”

Before the new waste management program was put in place, garbage rates were $122. Because of the predicted savings, rates were reduced in 2016 to $110.

The second aspect of the waste management program has been the Yard Waste Compost Facility.

In 2017, the city funded the yard waste program through solid waste reserves as an interim measure pending public feedback on how best to fund the program.

The facility has been widely utilized and a public survey conducted in November and December 2017 showed about 75 per cent of the residents surveyed have used the Yard Waste Compost Facility. Almost 85 per cent of residents surveyed thought that the yard waste program is an important part of an overall waste reduction and environmental stewardship program. More than 50 per cent of residents suggested user fees as a way to fund the program, about 10 per cent preferred taxation and 20 per cent indicated that they would not fund the program at all.

Council documents explained that the new solid waste management program has generated enough synergies and savings to allow it to incorporate a new service — the Yard Waste Compost Facility — for the same cost residents were paying several years ago for solid waste pick up alone.

Council also discussed two options for adding weekly garbage pick up during the summer months — one for all residents and one as an opt-in program.

Coun. Bruno Tassone brought forward a motion to include weekly pickup in summer — at an additional annual cost of $20 per household.

Tassone commented that he didn’t feel that the public had been consulted enough as to whether they wanted to switch to bi-weekly collection in the first place.

None of the other councillors were in favour of the option.

Coun. Arry Dhillon felt that the option would be moving backwards in the city’s commitment to reduce waste and greenhouse gasses and fight climate change.

Coun. Sue Heaton-Sherstibitoff agreed and felt it went against the city’s Official Community Plan and guiding principals of the waste management program.

Coun. Florio Vassilikakis noted he didn’t feel it would be fair to add an increased cost for those who have successfully adapted to the new system.

After the motion failed, Tassone was given the opportunity to make a second motion introducing the option for residents to opt in to a weekly collection, but he declined to do so.

Council remuneration committee

In accordance with a city bylaw requiring that remuneration, stipends, expense allowances and travel expenses paid to city councillors be reviewed six months prior to every local government election a Select Committee was appointed.

Community members Dale Donaldson, Louise Scott and Chris Bell will sit on the committee and Mayor Lawrence Chernoff will act as committee liaison. Section 142 of the Community Charter requires that one member of any select committee must be a councillor.

Celgar Pavilion contract

The contract to operate concession services at the Millennium Park Celgar Pavilion was awarded to the Castlegar & District Community Services Society (CDCSS).

The contract is for the next three years. CDCSS has operated the concession for the last two years.

Bloomer Creek remediation contract

Marwest Industries has been awarded a contract for the remediation of the area of Bloomer Creek where a slide occurred last May causing flooding and sending debris and silt into the city’s storm drainage system.

The slide was located on private property approximately 240 meters upstream of the final house on Chickadee Lane and 400 meters upstream from Meadowlark Lane.

Eight homes along the Bloomer Creek storm drainage system have remained on evacuation alert since the initial incident.

This mitigation is the final stage of the recovery process to ensure further slides and flooding is minimized.

Marwest Industries was the only company to submit a bid.

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