By Cole Parkinson
As options keep coming for what the new Grassy Lake waste level of service looks like, the Municipal District of Taber has high hopes the end is nearing as they prepare to once again broach the issue with hamlet residents.
The issue of how to tackle waste in Grassy Lake has been in discussion for several months now and M.D. administration narrowed down five different options that were presented to council at their Sept. 8 meeting.
In the past, options included, homeowners taking their own waste to the tipping station, placing plastic bags at the curb and having a person throw the bags into a trailer and placing large steel bins in a central location within the community for everyone to access, none of which have been permanent.
There are 242 services in Grassy Lake and at the time of investigation, hamlet residents were producing approximately three tonnes of solid waste per week.
The M.D. currently contracts Boot Trucking Ltd. out of Fort Macleod to haul waster from Grassy Lake to the Lethbridge landfill with a fixed cost of $587.86 per trip with landfill fees at $105 per tonne.
“Administration has come to a point, with a fair amount of patience and somewhat painstakingly, of moving to the next step in regard to the solid waste collection service delivery in the hamlet of Grassy Lake. We’re putting forward five different options of service delivery with approximate costing,” stated CAO Arlos Crofts.
Option one sees residents haul their own solid waste to the tipping station with a monthly cost per service account of around $9.69 per month.
“This cost is associated with Boot Trucking and the City of Lethbridge. This cost does not include any wages for our contract operator at the tipping station or equipment used at the tipping station. This would result in significantly more individual visits to the Grassy Lake Transfer Site,” reads administration’s report.
Option two is to place many large solid waste bins within the community which the current system is one location and the monthly cost per service account is around $21.66 per month
“Siting of another location may also prove to be difficult as was evidenced in early 2020. This cost involves the contracted company taking the solid waste directly to the City of Lethbridge landfill. There are options available to create more than one central site within the community. As you add sites the monthly cost will increase (ie. ongoing maintenance). (You) can dispose of your solid waste at any time of the day and any day of the week,” reads administration’s report.
Option three is curbside pickup using plastic totes (approximate 90 gallons), with a monthly cost per service account of around $21.90 per month.
“We will need to purchase plastic totes for each service in Grassy Lake — how we want to charge the residence for them is to be determined. The size of the tote limits the amount of solid waste the residence can place in the tote. Totes look neat and tidy along the curbside and in the yard. This service utilizes our own tipping station and its associated costs (already factored in). The M.D. may need to adjust for non-residential properties and rates if it appears to be warranted,” reads administration’s report.
Option four sees a shift back to curbside pickup using plastic garbage bags and a truck and trailer and a monthly cost per service account of around $22.91 per month.
“This service utilizes our own tipping station. Placing trash bags out on the street too early allows animals to tear them open creating more mess. Pickup is once a week and manual labour is hard on the person doing the task of throwing trash bags,” reads administration’s report.
The final option sees the M.D. purchasing their own solid waste truck and providing the tote curbside pickup service with a monthly cost per service account of roughly $33.38 per month.
“The monthly cost is an approximate number – until we own a large solid waste truck and learn the associated costs we have used best estimates for expenses. The truck is amortized over ten years as per our purchasing policy. An operator is needed for one day a week service and owning our own truck allows us the ability to be flexible in schedules and service levels,” reads administration’s report.
One option pointed out as a possible solution moving forward was number three.
“It doesn’t change the costs much from what they are now,” explained Coun. John Turcato.
With option five introducing the possibility of an M.D. owned garbage truck, the discussion around bringing waste collection to Hays and Enchant was brought forward again.
“If we went with option five by purchasing our own truck, do we then offer the service in the other hamlets?” asked Reeve Merrill Harris.
“If council wants us to consider our other hamlets then we can go back to the drawing board. At this point, we have looked at this for Grassy lake specifically,” replied Crofts.
The only option council wasn’t entirely sure about moving forward with was four as it had caused health issues with their workers as they were required to lift extremely heavy garbage bags.
“Option four probably isn’t an option because that’s what we moved away from,” stated Harris.
“It was a failed option and I don’t know that anything has changed to make it successful,” agreed Turcato.
Turcato made a motion to remove option four moving forward before another open house on the Grassy Lake waste level of service.
“I disagree, and the only reason I say that it came off the table is that it was something we weren’t willing to provide but if we were to have a contractor provide that service it would be different. If we are asking the residents, it may be something they prefer over bins,” said Deputy Reeve Jen Crowson.
“It’s good to have it there because people are going to ask about it anyway,” added Jason Bullock, director of agricultural services.
A new motion that council receive this for information and move to the next step in presenting this information to the residents of Grassy Lake and allow them to select the level of service that fits their needs and bring back that information to council for final approval was carried 5-1 with Turcato in opposition.
Coun. Brian Brewin was absent from the meeting.