Clive Doucet promises weekly summer garbage pickup

Clive Doucet would reinstate weekly garbage pickup during the summer months if he was elected mayor, he announced at a mayoral debate in rural south Ottawa Tuesday night.

Doucet said he's been hearing from residents that their garbage is too stinky in summer and that using the green bin can be difficult for some.

"I think the summer garbage is a real problem. I think I would support June, July, August weekly garbage pick up," he said during the debate.

Doucet told CBC News after the Osgoode all-candidates and mayoral debate he believed current landfill management policies could handle the increased service.

"You're going to have a little bit more garbage but you're going to have a lot more happy constituents," he said.

Doucet did not immediately say what reverting to weekly garbage collection for three months of the year would cost.

However, in the 2014 election — when a number of candidates were promising weekly pickup — the cost was estimated at $10 million a year by the the treasurer's office.

Doucet's announcement about weekly garbage pickup came as something of a surprise during the debate, especially as it was an answer to a question about a waste management plan related to the recent approval of a nearby landfill

Jim Watson, the incumbent mayor, said the answer to waste concerns is to recycle more and to reduce the amount going to the landfill.

"Some people have suggested 'Let's go back weekly garbage and let's scrap the green bin' and all sorts of ideas. But those are costly and they're not going to help the environment at all — they're actually going to set us back. " he told reporters after the debate, held in the Metcalfe Community Centre.

Residents also asked the mayoral candidates — Doucet, Watson, Ahmed Bouragba, Craig MacAulay and Moises Schachtler — about possible rail service in the rural community.

Doucet was asked why his commuter rail plan, announced two weeks ago, didn't go to Metcalfe.

"We don't have an established rail track running to Metcalfe," said Doucet, whose plan includes using existing railways — largely owned by VIA — to operate a commuter rail system.

"You do have it in Barrhaven. You do have it in Richmond. You do have it in Kanata North. And really the great cost in rail, as Mr. Watson can tell you at great length, is rights of way."

Matthew Kupfer/CBC

But Watson was quick to criticize the idea as uncosted and one that would impose a $400 transit levy on rural property owners, who currently don't pay the tax because they don't receive public transit service.

"His plan makes absolutely no sense," Watson told about 100 residents who attended the debate.

"When he was asked how much it's going to cost, his answer was peanuts. You can't bring peanuts to the bank to pay for anything and why should the Ottawa taxpayers be paying to subsidize a train service in Gatineau, Chelsea, Limoges, Smiths Falls?" Watson said.

However, Doucet said Ottawa residents would only be responsible for paying for the service in the city limits and other jurisdictions would pay for their parts of the service.

Matthew Kupfer/CBC

Cannabis in the country?

Residents were also concerned about where legal cannabis would be sold, which is currently planned for next April.

Both Watson and Doucet agreed that they would have preferred the previous plan where a branch of the LCBO oversaw the retail sales of marijuana, a plan overturned by the provincial PC government.

New rules for legal pot shops aren't expected until after the Oct. 22 election.

While Watson said he is looking for municipalities to have control over where the stores are located, Doucet argued that cannabis should be sold in pharmacies.

"Pharmacies sell a lot more scary items than cannabis," said Doucet.