WHITE ROCK – City Council’s soliciting for private solid waste collection has local CUPE municipal workers and residents concerned. Among the options being touted by Council are moving the collection for single-family dwellings from the current public service to private for-profit collection.
What was thought by many to be a public forum on the issue scheduled for late in the day June 30 (just before Canada Day) turned out to be more like mini-trade show - without chairs, microphones or speakers - just city display boards and a sprinkling of city staff to field questions.
Despite the timing and format of the event, turnout was good with most of the about 80 people crowded around the City’s proposal on single-family home solid waste pickup. City operations manager Greg St Louis was kept busy trying to explain why the city is even considering private pickup. City references to privatization were marked “exploratory” and St Louis presented the review as “normal business practice.”
The City’s explanation claims that residents wouldn’t notice a difference in service levels and questions whether it is getting the best value for money by not contracting an outside company.
The meeting was held on the eve of the privatization of garbage collection for multi-family residences and businesses in White Rock, a Council decision reached last spring despite widespread and vocal opposition from the community.
CUPE Local 402-01 President Mike Guraliuk wasn’t impressed with the review process. “Despite the fact that the city has already sought proposals from private contractors, this meeting was the first chance for residents to actually get any details about the Council’s plans. We had hoped there would also be a chance for some real discussion.
“We have heard from many residents who don’t want garbage and recycling to be privatized. They are concerned that private contractors will mean declining and inconsistent service, paying more for less service, less accountability and less concern for the environment. There’s a lot at stake, and it’s important that Mayor and Council hear directly from residents,” Guraliuk said.
Visit the CUPE BC gallery to view photos.