After 13,000 residents in southwest Edmonton missed their garbage being picked up, the city is working to resolve the issue.
Garbage, recycling and food scraps were not picked up on schedule during the week of June 29 to July 2 and the week of July 6-9 for residents who are part of the new garbage-cart rollout that started in March.
All of the collections were caught up by the morning of July 10, Mordecai Baba, the city's acting director of collection services, told CBC's Edmonton AM on Monday.
The new schedules, staffing challenges and the heat wave all contributed to the delays, Baba said.
"Due to extreme heat conditions, we had, you know, collectors out taking more frequent breaks just to help stay safe during the heat wave. So this caused more delays in completing the work," he said.
Baba said the city deployed trucks and collectors to help the contractors that had trouble keeping up with garbage pickup.
"We've joined forces together to make sure we do not see interruption in service levels to residents moving forward," he said.
He also said residents in the areas affected by the delays are now being offered more help in learning how to properly set out their carts for automated garbage pick-up. He noted that with the new system, all garbage bags must be placed inside the cart.
In a news release, Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 30 president Eric Lewis pointed fingers at private waste-removal contractors hired by the city.
"These carts were not collected because the contractor doesn't know the work, doesn't know the routes, and doesn't know the city," Lewis said in the release.
"If the city kept this work in-house, problems like this wouldn't happen."
Lewis said he thinks the city will solve the current problem, but that more issues will pop up in the future if services continue to be contracted out. "You pay less and get shoddy service," he said.
In response, Baba said the city expects the same level of service from its contractors as they do from its employees.
"We do not differentiate ourselves from the contractors … we're working with the contractor to make sure that the affected areas have connections," he said.
As part of the ongoing rollout, each single-unit home and some multi-unit homes will receive a 240-litre garbage cart, 120-litre food scraps cart and small food scraps pail.
The city is rolling out the bins in six different phases. Edmontonians can use the city address tool to find out when — between now and Sept. 1 — their cart will arrive.