High tech garbage removal coming to Grand Forks

Mona Mattei
By Mona Mattei
November 5th, 2009

Grand Forks City Council gave the final nod this week to their new plan for garbage removal, compost collection and recycling at an initial capital cost of over $700,000. The decision on Monday, Nov. 2 was made after reviewing recommended options from staff.

“I would say I think this is a very progressive move for the city. Although there are a lot of small details we’re going to have to work through, I think it is progressive and forward thinking to move this way,”  said Mayor Brian Taylor who supported the motion.

Councillor Gene Robert was also excited about this new system and felt that it will be of great assistance to the elderly of the community,  and help prevent random dumping around town.

“This system will become convenient to our residents. No more trips to the landfill, everything will be at the curbside,” said Robert. “No more plastic bags. Forty-four per cent of the residents in our community are over 65 years of age or handicapped. This system is the most convenient to the elderly  and low income people who do not have the transportation to go to a landfill. I think this is a great move.”

With current services contracts expiring in July 2010, city staff undertook a review of both garbage collection and recycling services. Garbage removal services are under contract with Alpine Disposal Ltd. and the recycling is set up with the Regional District Kootenay Boundary (RDKB). Limited composting pick up is also done through Alpine.

The new program will see three bins provided by the city to each residence – one each for compost, garbage, and recycling. The bins are specifically designed to be handled by a mechanical arm on the new garbage trucks. The city will purchase the new high tech trucks that can pick up the different materials from the all the bins in one stop. The trucks are designed so the driver does not have to exit the vehicle, and can serve 400 – 500 locations a day. The system will be similar for commercial properties.

Wayne Kopan, city works superintendent, explained the advantages of the system in his report to council including having in-house employees do the work, the convenience of the operation for residents and the relatively low additional costs to residents. Kopan estimates that the total new cost to taxpayers will be $4.00 per month phased in over two years for a total annual increased cost of $48. Currently, residents pay $96 per year for the services.

City workers welcomed the new services. Ross Idler, CUPE 4728 president and parks co-ordinator for the city, is happy council decided to bring the services in-house. “Thanks to a great collaborative effort with our local and the CAO, residents will win,” said Idler. “Concern about inadequate service quality from the private sector contractor and the ability for us to provide a higher level of service that meets our residnets’ need sold Council. Being able to do everything at curbside and do it more oftern is a big plus for our aging population.”


Categories: Politics