By Trevor Busch
An extensive list of fines for violations are included in the Town of Taber’s Waste, Recycling and Organic Material Bylaw 4-2016, which will help govern the implementation of a rollout cart system for solid waste.
At their April 11 regular meeting, town council voted unanimously to pass first reading of Waste, Recycling and Organic Material Bylaw 4-2016. The town’s solid waste initiative will be a three-cart system for garbage, recycling and composting, with carts set for delivery in April in anticipation of a May 1 start date.
“As we move to a new cart system, our old bylaw doesn’t work anymore, so we need a new bylaw to replace it,” said CAO Greg Birch.
As part of the town’s new solid waste initiative, the bylaw would provide direction for residents and businesses, and provide guidelines regarding general rules, automated collection containers, restrictions on waste, residential waste, collection of waste in automated collection containers, collection from condominiums, commercial waste, waste disposal, community recycling drop off centres, residential recycling and compostable materials services, collection of recyclable and compostable materials in automated collection containers, enforcement and specified offences and penalties.
Bylaw 4-2016 must still pass second and third reading before becoming municipal law.
Waste containers must be set out on the day of collection no later than 7 a.m., or no earlier than 7 p.m. the previous evening, and must be removed from the street no later than 7 p.m. on the day of collection.
“This bylaw is more under guidelines,” said public works director Gary Scherer.“We’re not going to run out and fine everybody if their bin isn’t out by 7:01 a.m. It’s just to provide guidelines so we can inform our residents that this is what we need to make this a successful program.”
Containers must be positioned at least one metre from any object on either side of the container, one metre from any object behind it, and must have overhead clearance of three metres.
Specified penalties on first offence for violations under the bylaw include the following:
Scavenging waste, recyclable or compostable materials ($125); waste, recyclable or compostable material deposited without consent ($250); improperly located waste containers ($125); allowing offensive odours or untidy waste ($125); setting out restricted waste for collection ($250); improper packaging of yard waste ($125); failure to provide single waste storage location ($125); setting out waste not generated on the premises ($250); use of improper waste containers ($125); set waste container out no later than 7 a.m. on day of collection ($125); set waste containers out before 7 p.m. on the day before collection ($125); failure to remove waste containers or automated collection from front street by 7 p.m. on collection day ($125); failure to use automated collection container where waste is collected by automated collection ($125); additional waste on top of, or beside, the automated collection container ($125); filled automated collection container exceeds 60 kilograms ($125); failure to properly locate automated collection containers for collection ($125); failure to use commercial bin ($250); failure to provide sufficient bins ($250); unlawful for any person to dump building waste, garbage, or other waste within town limits ($500); allowing building material or building waste material to remain loose, free, or uncontrolled on the construction site ($250); failure to provide a suitable waste bin capable of receiving all building material on site ($250); unlawful disposal of material not specified on the sign at the recycling drop off centre ($250).
“With putting the carts out, they can put them out the night before is fine,” said Scherer. “We just don’t want them hanging around in the streets and lanes for more than 24 hours if possible. There’s also restrictions on the amount you can put in there, amount of waste with weight restrictions. We developed this bylaw with a lot of looking at other municipalities. Calgary was a main contributor, Lethbridge — a bunch of communities throughout Alberta.”
Council initiated discussion of various methods to improve the Town of Taber’s municipal solid waste system several years ago. A study undertaken in 2012 suggested the preferred option was to move away from the current bin system to a variation of the roll-out cart system used by a significant percentage of communities in North America. At the time, this initiative had originally stalled in the face of unresolved questions from council and a degree of public opposition.
At their June 8, 2015, regular meeting, town council voted 4-2 to approve the purchase of a solid waste collection truck from Haul-All Equipment Systems for $299,999. The collection truck has a dual-arm collection system which allows the vehicle to gather all waste or recycling material with one pass in the lanes, reducing lane maintenance, promoting fuel economy, and overall safety.
In response to a question about who is ultimately responsible for dealing with solid waste collection under the new system — landlord/owner versus tenant — Scherer noted that unless this has been directly specified in a rental agreement, the property owner is the responsible party.
“The owner. It should be up to the owner to have an agreement with the tenant — usually that’s the case, for part of the agreement to be regarding solid waste recycling services. I’m talking about a duplex or a four-plex. Usually you have a rental agreement, and that should be part of that agreement. Keep in mind — and it is in your current utility bylaw — that the owner is responsible.”
The municipal solid waste initiative is a system of collection which would eliminate the need to sort containers at home and deliver them to a central location, replacing it with a system where recyclables would be picked up in one cart at each resident’s property. Other municipalities in Alberta have moved to municipal solid waste disposal systems similar to that being implemented by town administration for Taber, although only a relative handful have moved to a full three-cart recycling and disposal system.
Providing an update on the proposed development at town council’s Oct. 13, 2015 regular meeting, Don Francis of Bio-Can confirmed the company’s plans to have a compost facility operational in Taber by April 2016 to handle the new waste stream starting in May.
Coun. Randy Sparks, referencing the quality of some of the carts already delivered, objected to a clause in Bylaw 4-2016 which would place responsibility solely on the property owner for repair or replacement of carts not damaged due to abuse or error.
“Talking about the ‘owner will be responsible for maintenance, repair, replacement of automatic collection container’. At this time, I don’t really agree with that. I’ve seen many pictures of many containers already broken, and laying on the streets with wheels gone. The owner of this property hasn’t done anything to wreck these containers. I find these containers very light — I was surprised by actually how light they were. I don’t know how much of a beating they’re going to be able to take. So I don’t actually totally agree with that, because if these containers aren’t going to stand up, the owner of that property shouldn’t be responsible for shoddy containers the town has purchased.”
Scherer pointed out that under many circumstances where damage has occured through no fault of the property owner, carts would be replaced or repaired at no cost.
“I agree with that. That’s why we have warranty period with the containers for 10 years. This is more for abuse. If it’s anything to do with how it’s built, that would be charged back to them. We’re going to handle that internally. If somebody backs over it and breaks it up — yes, you’ll be charged for that.”
Ridgid timelines for pick-up must be adhered to, according to Scherer, for the new system to work efficiently.
“We do have to set time limits. Without it, everyone’s going to be putting it out at 9 a.m. Well it was out by 9 a.m., it was out by 10 a.m. Maybe our trucks have gone by, by then, depending on where they start. So we do have to set some sort of limit on pick-up times, and for them to return them to the property by a certain time. There again — this is not meant to be a cash cow, it’s meant to be guidelines. But if we have a constant offender that ignores all the rules all the time, then we have to go that route. That’s the purpose of this.”
Future considerations regarding the solid waste initiative will include discussion of implementation of a municipal solid waste collection system for the industrial area, consideration of an optimal way to collect waste from higher-density dwellings, such as apartments, and determining the need for a second garbage truck.
Commenting on council concerns regarding formulation of Bylaw 4-2016’s extensive list of fines and infractions, Scherer noted minimum fines are actually largely lower than in the town’s previous bylaw controlling waste collection.
“We talked to Chief Abela, and we looked at other municipalities for these fines and fees, and we looked at your current bylaw — the minimum fine is $500. So it’s far more substantial than what’s in here. That’s a standard going rate for quite a few other municipalities.”
For more information on the rollout of the town’s new solid waste initiative in coming weeks, residents are asked to contact the Public Works Department at email@example.com or 403-223-5500 (ext. 5461).