Sep 07, 2010

CUPE 50 raises concerns about solid waste and recycling services

VICTORIA—CUPE 50 president John Burrows called on Victoria’s Mayor and Council to fully consider the public option in solid waste collection and management. In an address to Council last week, Burrows noted that not only will changes to Victoria’s solid waste collection cost jobs, it will cost residents in terms of quality of service delivery, loss of accountability, and higher costs.

Burrows pointed out that flexibility to change or add to the program without additional charges is a benefit of keeping the service in-house and public.

“Along with the organic waste, let’s bring roadside recycling into our existing solid waste collection program,” said Burrows. “Standards for community health and safety, as well as environmental protection, are best served by public delivery of waste management services.”

The brief included examples of problems in other municipalities who went to private collection. He noted that in Port Moody, council voted to bring the service back in-house after “endless complaints of missed pick-ups, spilled garbage, broken bins, and speeding garbage trucks.”

Despite the fact that 95 per cent of residents are very satisfied with backyard garbage pickup, two of the three options put forward to Mayor and City Council by the City’s management staff, would eliminate it. This change means that Victoria’s elderly residents would have to carry their garbage to the curb.

Council had initially considered 15 options but of the four options discussed with CUPE 50, none had all waste streams being handled by City staff as a fully public service, and none maintain backyard pick-up service.

CUPE 50 put forward three collection options that divert organic waste from the landfill through curbside collection of organics and yard and garden waste. The union recommends bringing blue-box recycling in-house to integrate it with Victoria’s solid waste collection programs so that the City will receive the CRD’s diversion credits.

COPE 491