Looking to possibly save money on garbage pickup, Peterborough County council has directed staff to pursue options and costs of uploading curbside and depot garbage collection to the county from its eight townships.
Selwyn Township Deputy Mayor Sherry Senis, who serves as the chair of the county’s waste management committee, said at council’s Wednesday regular meeting the topic had garnered a lot of discussion at the committee level.
“We felt it best to get direction from county council to see if there’s an appetite to delve into it further,” Senis said. “There should be economies of scale, which is most likely the reason the majority of upper tiers are now dealing with waste management across the province, but we want to ensure the level of customer service we now have isn’t affected.”
Currently, curbside garbage collection is administered by the townships and curbside recycling collection is administered by the county.
Across Ontario, more than 90 per cent of municipal waste services are administered by an upper-tier government, according to a staff report. Peterborough County is one of the last to consolidate waste management services.
If uploaded, county-administered pickup would begin in 2023.
Based on advice from two consultants, staff recommended an analysis of the cost savings of consolidation and, also, potential efficiencies from the integration of future additional collection services.
Asphodel-Norwood Township and North Kawartha Township councillors said they were happy with the status quo.
“We have a great contractor,” said Lori Burtt, Asphodel-Norwood’s deputy mayor.
“We just renewed the contract for another two years. It’s extremely cost effective for us, and I just have a feeling that it would be very, very difficult to exceed those expectations.”
North Kawartha Deputy Mayor Jim Whelan added, “We’ve got a really good system. It works really well. People are happy. I will not be voting for it now and I won’t be voting for it in the future but that’s just North Kawartha.”
“We have a very good waste collection system (in Otonabee South-Monaghan),” said Mayor Joe Taylor, “and our residents, for the most part, are very happy with it but that doesn’t mean we can’t look at an alternative that could be just as good. It would be a mistake not to explore the inefficiency of a garbage truck following a recycle truck up the road.
“If you want to look at it through a climate change lens, it’s huge. I also don’t see this as an all or nothing arrangement. If some municipality does not want to opt in, that could be a consideration.”
A motion was made by Cavan Monaghan Township Deputy Mayor Matt Graham to not pursue the matter.
“I understand the interest and potential to investigate but at this time, with the changes and transition that we’re going through with regards to recycling there still so much to be determined. I really don’t think it’s the appropriate time to be reinventing the wheel when it comes to garbage collection,” he said.
That motion failed, but a second motion was made by Senis that staff go ahead with a request for proposal to investigate uploading township garbage collection to the upper tier, noting some townships may wish to opt out.
Graham added to the motion that existing service levels across all municipalities must be maintained, and that motion passed.
Later in the meeting, council directed staff to send a letter to the City of Peterborough requesting an update on the city’s new organics processing facility project and an estimated time frame for the opening of the facility, asking for a response sent back to county council by Jan. 31.
Brendan Burke is a staff reporter at the Examiner. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him at email@example.com.
Brendan Burke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner