By Gerry Barker
November 19, 20118
It all began in 2007 when former mayor Karen Farbridge won a sweeping election seizing control of city council.
For all you history buffs here is what happened some 11 years ago. It was an evolutionary process that took us from blue boxes to three plastic bags to three bins. The last waste management collection move cost citizens $15.5 million. Then it failed to service some 35,000 households because the automatic trucks, costing $150,000 each, failed to navigate many of the high-density condo properties.
Solution: Hire private contractors to remove waste from those condos planned and approved by the City planning department and also the majority of the Farbridge council.
It didn’t take long for residents in condo properties to figure it out that they were being taxed for city pick-up of waste but paying someone else to do it. About a year ago the waste management staff resolved part ofthe problem by changing the collection system to accommodate the owners who were paying extra to have their waste removed.
With the announcement that funds were being made available there appeared to be a number of condo sites that were not to receive the benefits of the new waste removal largess.
Declaration of interest: Our Wellington Condominium 99 Corporation was not included and that’s where we live. More on this later.
I do not blame the current waste management team led By Deputy Administrative Officer Scott Stewart. Joining the staff in 2015, he was handed a rock of wasted funding, poor service and disorganization. In such an important department, it is impossible to turn things around to serve all the residents of the city.
I do not believe this survey will accomplish anything including assuaging those of us who must pay double for waste removal. It is not just a Guelph problem.
Royson James, a seasoned writer in the Toronto Star ,outlined the problems facing GTA municipalities where the rules are different, confusing and counter-productive in basic recyclable technology
In Guelph, we are stuck with a collection system that does not cover all residents or businesses in the city and sorting is done by hand. How does a a sorter distinguish between dangerous medical materials and certain forms of plastic in a high speed assembly sorting likel that includes recyclables from other communities?
Why does the city ship its recyclables to Cambridge where Waste Management operated an automated plant to handle these materials?
Is it pride? Is it to justify the millions spent on the Dunlop Drive Waste Innovation Centre that includes the $34 million organic waste facility that was over built and is run by a subsidiary of the company that built the plant? In fact, the compost produced by the plant is not available to Guelph citizens as it is sold privately. Perhaps that’s a good thing, as we don’t know what’s in it.
So we encourage people to answer the questions and let the management know that the services need reorganization to reflect the modern needs of effective waste management.
About that rock mentioned earlier? There are several factors that reflect the mistakes made by previous administration. Our waste collection and dispersal, in my opinion, is disgraceful, inflamed by ego driven leadership and wasted millions.
Unfortunately, The survey form would not download. It can be located on the city website. In our opinion it has affected many taxpayers for 12 years.
What’s fair and should be addressed for the following reasons?
We live in a land condominium composed of 22 single family homes and the city has never picked up our waste. Instead we pay a private contractor to remove our waste weekly, we have lived in our home for 15 years. Most of our neighbours voluntarily segregate wet garbage from recyclables. We do not have any city supplied bins or carts to dispose of our waste so we use plastic bags. The cost of this to residents is more than $7,000 a year although we must pay for the service through our property taxes.
We have made overtures to the waste management without resolution. We pay to have our street cleared of snow, we maintain our water and sewage system including a connection to the Guelph Country Club.
We believe it is hypocritical of the city to charge for waste removal through our taxes and ignore that we do not meet the high standards of waste removal as dictated by city council.
When city approve a plan of subdivision, why do they not adhere to their own waste management bylaw?
We live in the heart of the city, a lovely island of privacy and independence and pay the same tax rate as those nearby who enjoy the services the city provides.
The solution is simple. Just remove those city services it does not provide from our tax bills. This would include roads, curbs, water and sewer system maintenance, snow removal, waste pick-up including recyclables, street lighting, tree servicing, administration, liability insurance, common area maintenance. Most importantly, residents are required to contribute monthly to our reserve fund to support the various assets for which the city is not responsible.
We understand that other municipalities do grant discounts for services they do not provide.
Our board of directors would be pleased to discuss this possibility or other resolution.
Gerry and Barbara Barke
271 Riverview Place
Guelph, ON. N1E 7G9