Trash talking: complete review of waste management in city contemplated by council

There was a lot of trash talking at the final regular meeting of the outgoing council.

Mayor John Dooley put forth a notice of motion for consideration at the next (new) council meeting at the Oct. 25 meeting in council chambers regarding a complete review of the waste management strategy in the city.

The motion was for the next council to direct city staff to refer the consideration of the development of a waste management strategy to council for the next strategic planning session.

The motion was made by Dooley — the outgoing mayor — after several months of repeated pressure on city council and at meetings for people asking for more frequent pick up of residential waste — currently sitting at once every two weeks.

“I think that from what we have been hearing from folks over the last few months, some people are throwing a lot of stuff out there that they would believe could be a solution to wildlife conflicts,” he said. “It may or may not be, but it probably should be looked at.”

Coun. Jesse Woodward — who will be part of the next council — asked when the last overview had been done.

City manager Kevin Cormack did not say, but he did relate that the city was in charge of waste collection, while the regional district was tasked with resource recovery.

“Our goal is to get organics out of the waste stream. That is the biggest attractant,” Cormack explained. “Wildlife conflict isn’t just about food waste and garbage, it’s about fruit trees and pet food and all of those other things that need to happen.”

Woodward said the challenge here was the cost benefit of a review.

“Even if we streamlined and made sure everything was (good), are we actually achieving what people are asking for?” he asked.

“My thinking is, we need to take a whole different approach to our consumption in general. And I think this is an opportunity for us to talk about it,” Dooley replied.

With the city embracing Nelson Next — a plan to move the city to a carbon neutral future — and there is continual work around climate change, carbon footprints and embodied carbon, waste was a big component of that conversation.

“Well, the waste stream is a big part of that,” he said. “I would really want us, going forward — but it would be entirely up to the council of the day — to let us be leaders and let us think ahead and be looking at new ways to manage waste instead of creating it and dumping it,” he said.

“So, when people ask us to go to weekly pick up of garbage, maybe that’s the right thing, don’t get me wrong. But, at the same time, it’s back to the old model of ‘you create, we pick it up and we dump it.’

“We’ve got to get away from that and we have to put the onus on the people that are creating it.”

The notice of motion passed and will now go to the next council meeting for consideration.

Timothy Schafer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Nelson Daily