Curbside pickup coming to Rideau Lakes roads

·3 min read

The Township of Rideau Lakes is about to embark on a new curbside waste pickup policy for private roads.

The township has more than 400 private roads within its boundaries. Under the new policy, 151 private roads will realize improved service while 26 roads will see a reduction in service, and 187 private roads will see no change.

"I think we're moving in the right direction, in terms of enhancing service levels overall," said Mayor Arie Hoogenboom. "Now we're going to have to find ways of doing it, but without adding another truck and without adding another driver – which I think is doable."

As the township's chief administrative officer Mike Dwyer points out, the increase in service of about 28 per cent in summer curbside pickup won't necessarily have a linear impact on the township's resources.

"The resource impact would depend on the additional roads' proximity to other serviced roads, the length of the roads, and the number of stops on each," said Dwyer. "In addition, some roads, even if they qualify, have traditionally, and will likely continue to decline service – for example those that prefer a box at the end of their road."

The changes are scheduled to begin after the Victoria Day long weekend in May 2021.

"So we will not be adding winter pick up to certain roads this year, and things will continue as is until next year," said Coun. Bob Lavoie, North Crosby – Newboro Ward.

Exactly how the new program will be rolled out is still not clear, and will only be finalized after an initial deployment takes place and more information is gathered.

"So we're going to take a wait-and-see approach. We're going to wait and see which of the roads that are eligible are going to take us up on the offer of roadside pickup, and that along with layout of the roads will determine what kind of operational impacts we'll have," said Dwyer.

The new policy applies standardized assessments for each road. These include the road width, the road surface quality – on a scale of one to five, road length, turnaround facility, etc.

Based on those criteria, summer pickup will be limited to roads with a minimum nine-foot width, provided they meet other criteria and winter pickup will be confined to roads with a minimum width of 11 feet that also meet road quality criteria.

"This policy gives us the opportunity to say we have a consistent level of service right across the township, all wards," said Hoogenboom, adding that if people want to upgrade private roads that don't currently qualify for service, they're encouraged to do so and they'll be added into the schedule.

The township has been working on this project for almost a year now, and although most of the private roads have been identified and assessed there remain about 40 roads with insufficient data. These will be captured over the next few months, as the township continues to standardize civic addresses to meet emergency services requirements.

As Dwyer explains, the inconsistencies and ad hoc nature of curbside pickup in the municipality are rooted in the past.

"Roadside pickup has been an artifact of history, so when there were five municipalities, each municipality applied waste management differently. South Elmsley and Newboro had curbside pickup on private roads mostly driven by a lack of landfill sites, and post amalgamation that continued. Then in the mid-2000s, the township brought in curbside pickup," said Dwyer.

At the time of amalgamation there was not standard policy, just as there hasn't always been a consistent standard for private road construction. That's changed now, and new private roads do have to be built to certain specifications making it easier for both residents to receive and municipalities to apply services equally.

Affected properties will be receiving direct notifications from the municipality, of any changes to their service levels before they take effect, said Hoogenboom.

Heddy Sorour, Local Journalism Initiative, Brockville Recorder and Times