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Tbnewswatch Local News
Wednesday May 27 2015
11:49 AM EDT
2014-02-03 at 21:30

Solid waste plan

Jamie Smith,
Stantec's Cathy Smith presents the plan to council Monday night.
By Jamie Smith,

How the city deals with its waste and what it costs could look a lot different under a proposed 20-year plan.

Currently the city's diversion rate, the amount of waste it keeps out of the dump, is around 22 per cent compared to the 47 per cent provincial average. The Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Strategy, presented to city council as a draft report Monday night, has a way to bring that number to 68 per cent by 2022. But Stantec, the consultant group that wrote the report, said that will take time and money.

The two-phase plan would completely overhaul the way Thunder Bay deals with its waste and recycling. Phase one could see weekly recycling, a move to single-stream recycling that would increase the type of materials people could recycle and automated pick-up.

Stanted's Cathy Smith said just making it easier for people would help the diversion rate.

"A lot of it has to do with the convenience of programming," she said.

"The more convenient you make these programs, the more participation you're going to have."

It would also see a removal of bag limits but a move to clear garbage bags. There's also a plan to expand leaf and yard-waste pick-up.

But recycling more and different kinds of material would also mean changes to recycling facilities, which could be up to $5 million if a new one was needed.

Phase 2 would include multi-residential areas and industry. Over the 20 year period, the plan could cost between $10 million and $15 million. That would include the recycling facility, operating and programming costs. 

Coun. Aldo Ruberto said when council debates the strategy April 7, he wants questions answered that will likely be on the public's mind.

"What am I paying right now? How much better is it going to be?” he said.

Coun. Andrew Foulds said he was surprised to hear how low the city's diversion rate is.

"It was a bit shocking," he said.

But it was also shocking to see that what waste collection costs a home owner right now, around $12 on average, could triple by the end of the plan.

"People need to know what they're buying," he said.

Smith said the plan is really about best practices for a city to deal with its waste. The plan will be available on the city's website soon. 
"I just think everybody really needs an opportunity to really digest the information," she said


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coffeshoppolitician says:
Pretty sad when we have to pay a high priced consultant to tell us we need to recycle more.
2/5/2014 11:45:20 AM
passlake says:
the reality is that we're going to have to do something about the amount of waste going to the dump.

with a few simple choices we can easily reduce the amount we throw out.

bring on green bins. they work wonderfully in other places.

or.. we can just build another dump that's probably going to cost more...
2/4/2014 8:47:40 PM
hadenough says:
The corporation of the City does little to recycle itself. Sure theres a few bins to catch pop cans or plastic water bottles but nothing for paper or cardboard. Some individual components within do voluntary recycling but as a whole, the City is one of the biggest culprits of waste.
2/4/2014 5:16:43 PM
I'mright says:
Everybody should be responisble for their waste, including manufacturers, industry and the consumer. If you're gonna cry about the 1% or less in tax dollars a year, then recycle or be more cognitive on the packaging your purchasing and methods of disposal.....or deal with it!
2/4/2014 2:08:02 PM
enos012 says:
Regarding long has the 3 R's been around for? It STARTS at REDUCE!! Than REUSE!! but everyone jumps to recycle. The owness is on the people to change thier lifestyles to make a difference. But this is all linked with business and people's perception of more more more.
2/4/2014 12:40:52 PM
Papercut says:
@ The Beav: have a very good point!

Me thinks there is a secret deal waiting behind closed doors..
2/4/2014 11:52:50 AM
j_northey says:
I used to live in Georgetown (west of Toronto) and they had shifted to green bins (for food waste), blue box (everything goes in) both collected weekly and garbage every other week. The very first week they did that they crossed 60% diversion (collection took far longer as they weren't expecting people to jump in as much as they did, but adapted quickly). Basically, make it easy to recycle, make it so food waste isn't in the dump (green bin is very easy to get used to), and make it a bit more of a pain for regular trash and it is amazing how fast people adapt.

Clear bags I see as an ugly choice, plus people will just put their trash into small grocery bags and toss those into the clear bags instead. Try other proven options first.
2/4/2014 11:52:32 AM
CM Punk says:
I think Ruberto is gonna be facing two key questions:

1. Mr. Ruberto, when will council stop spending taxpayers money so foolishly?
2. When will you, Angus, Foulds, Pugh, Virdiramo, Bentz, and Hobbs leave council for good?
2/4/2014 11:15:57 AM
Papercut says:
@Kam River:

You really think that privatizing garbage is teh way to go???? I do NOT. Our taxes will remain the same at they will spend it elsewhere.....PLUS you will now be charged to have each can emptied.....and you will be making someone very wealthy....I WILL certainly be on the bidder's list to get that contract....garbage=gold.
2/4/2014 10:55:43 AM
THe Beaver..... says:
Maybe only recycling 22% is a good way
to go. It cost a lot to truck this stuff to the south. Its not like we are over burdened with the lack of space and can not find an other hole to
dump our waste. It amasses me whenever I see people at City hall and council lamenting we are not doing enough. Wen it comes to raising taxes... we are doing lots. I think we need to ask the Chamber to look in to this as well
2/4/2014 10:48:42 AM
SomeGuy says:
If 22% is the answer why is nearly every other municipality increasing the amount that they divert from landfills?

It's because we can not just put it under the rug so to speak.
2/4/2014 4:27:29 PM
conker2012 says:
Just so that you are aware contracting out garbage is not the solution. Contracting out is just a way of reducing staffing, and in the end you get worse service for the same or higher costs.

Contracting only works for seasonal work where the equipment is used half of the year and requires specialty staff.

Garbage collection has huge problem and that is the management refusing to reduce staffing. The new trucks are designed to be operated by one worker, but for some reason we keep two on each truck. Time to let half the garbage staff go. If management won't reduce staff then we should move to automated trucks with city provided bins. This way there is no excuse to let the second person on a truck go.

Also reduce staff by moving all garbage trucks to the dump as home base. This way you eliminate a manager, administrative assistant, supervisor and optimize the work force.

As one city we need to centralize city services instead of maintaining 3 public works yards if we want to save $
2/4/2014 10:27:18 AM
conker2012 says:
Great plan, let us expand it so that we can sell the service to outlying communities and lobby the government to force municipalities to recycle. We can turn a profit off of recycling our neighbours garbage. Time to think big, and get others to pay what we want.
2/4/2014 10:14:44 AM
fastball says:
What I'd really like to do is examine how our money gets spent - ALL of it - and identify where the real inefficiencies in our revenue streams lie.
I'd rather address and eliminate those chronic money-wasters - and then work on optimizing some of the ways we do things. If the waste management system can be made more efficient and be a benefit to the homeowner, I say let's study the proposal. To think that we only are only at a half of the provincial average in terms of recycling is embarrassing. But frankly, I'm tired of sorting through all my waste every 2 weeks...not when I see residents in other communities just throw all their recycling into a single bin to be sorted elsewhere.
But then again, half this town won't even buy a garbage can. All summer, trash is strewn down the street, while the seagulls enjoy the buffet.
I'm all for a better system - but let's look for the real money-wasters in the system and fix those first.
2/4/2014 9:53:15 AM
YellowSnow13 says:
So you want more money and I still have to drive my car and trailer to the back with all the trucks and mud and ruts and deep holes. All because somebody made a POLICY. No trailers on the ramp. I need to put my recycle into bags instead of using a blue box. Take a look at Hamilton before you make any decisions. They do it right. Here, not so much.
2/4/2014 9:37:00 AM
Papercut says:
I recall in the late 80's early 90's......hearing that some people with what were at the time very large and luxurious homes were paying $5000 per year in taxes.....I thought they were nuts!

Well....a few years later....and I open my new tax assesment from our city...and I guess I am the one who is nuts now?!?

Pretty soon....I will have to move a few miles down the road to escape this never-ending increase that our oblivious powers-to-be call "taxes".

You CANNOT keep increasing taxation on the population of this is a fact that will be made clear in teh next 5 years....MARK MY WORDS.
2/4/2014 9:11:38 AM
fastball says:
Beer was 20 bucks a case back in the day, too.
Everything goes up - even taxes.
Chances are you're making more money than you did back then, as well.
2/4/2014 2:57:06 PM
arjay says:
there is an election coming up! besides a whole new council, we definitely need a complete new upper Management? at City Hall.
2/4/2014 9:08:21 AM
Kam River says:
Time to start contracting out city jobs, starting with garbage collections.
Then close the conservatory another waste of money no one visits it winter or summer
2/4/2014 8:50:32 AM
j_northey says:
The problem with privatizing garbage collection is we are not in the Toronto region. Down there each city can do that and as long as multiple companies are around they get competitive bids each time. Up here we'd see one company win, then they have all the equipment and no one else can make a reasonable bid after that as they'd have to buy the equipment and hire fresh workers, etc.

Now, if we went the way some communities in Florida have we might make it work. One my parents live in has 2 companies collect trash - they need to pick up from anyone in town who orders their service and the more who order their service the more they make. That keeps the companies honest and creates competition.
2/4/2014 11:58:04 AM
Kam River says:
It is just another tax
(1) Like the water tax the more wecut back on our water usage the more they charged us
(2) Now a garbage tax, and if we put out less garbage guess what...
(3) They will punish us for not recycling enough.
Council will be told my admin we need to charge the citizen more.
Time to get rid of this money hungry council. They are just looking for ways to raise our taxes for their pet projects.
2/4/2014 8:46:03 AM
Meta says:
The truly solid waste seems to come from this council! Money, time, ventures.
2/4/2014 8:26:18 AM
Ozone says:
Want better diversion,? Have a better user friendly recycling program.

Stop the wasted stupid changes that are going to tax the heck out of our overtaxed citizens!

Clear bags, to what police what people dies arc. Better undertand the privacy laws council before you try to pull this one. A good lawyer will take you to task on this.

Also, is the city now going to refuse to pick up bags that are unclear? Privatize garbage collection, have people pay per bag and reduce the city workforce and pass the enormous savings back to the tax payer. how much did this study cost and where are the over priced and never used city staff we pay for?

Thunder Bay...... the city that can't get it right! Time after time
2/4/2014 8:23:06 AM
tbay99 says:
MORE spending?! The joke that is our city council just keeps getting worse every meeting they have!
2/4/2014 12:25:10 AM
ring of fire dude says:
I think we should keep the status quo and just go and buy another large tract of land , it's gotta be cheaper than what Stantec is proposing .
2/3/2014 11:12:54 PM
SomeGuy says:
It costs upwards of hundreds of million of dollars to create a new landfill. It's not just go buy land start dumping.
2/4/2014 11:39:27 AM
cm punk says:
So what will going from black bags to clear bags solve?
If my garbage is in white kitchen bags the city won't pick it up?
Sounds like another money grab.
Got my tax bill today, it went up. 150 bucks.
2/3/2014 10:28:10 PM
Synical says:
The intent is to shame people into recycling by violating privacy rights. I maintain there are some things thrown out that the neighborhood doesn't need to see.

2/4/2014 12:29:37 AM
S Duncan says:
Once your garbage leaves your property and gets put at the curb, you have no rights to it anymore.

That's been through the courts more than once.

I don't like it any more than you do. The answer is to be aware of your rights and act accordingly.
2/4/2014 2:25:49 PM
Synical says:
And if that were the case, then the policy wouldn't stipulate that they can return the garbage to you if it doesn't meet their standards of disposal.

I'm not even sure why I'm responding to you. You're only here to play devils advocate, and really aren't worth the time it takes to respond.

For the post below, who says I use garbage cans? I have had them stolen on too many occasions to bother continuing to pay to replace them.
2/5/2014 12:11:32 AM
jb says:
You use clear garbage cans?
2/4/2014 3:41:21 PM
ou812 says:
use clear bags then the city should fine people for not recycling! good money generator
2/4/2014 9:43:32 PM
Vanity says:
We don't have the money. We are over taxed, user fee to death and sewer costs more than what you use in water. Enough! Pensioners who live past 80 only get paid $25,000 a yr if they have a "good" pension. Stop this Mayor and Council.
2/3/2014 9:46:25 PM
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