Council approves $478,611 to modernize trash collection
By Nowell Berg
On July 10, City of Kimberley council held its bi-monthly meeting.
Councillors Kent Goodwin, Albert Hoglund, Nigel Kitto, Bev Middlebrook, Darryl Oakley and Bev Roberts were present along with Mayor Don McCormick.
To modernize or not: The Garbage Truck Debate
The city’s Operations Department requested council approve the purchase of an automated side loading garbage collection truck (ASLGCT) and 3,050 collection bins at a cost of $478,611.
The Operations Department report to council notes that “implementing an automated system for waste removal saves on [Workers Compensation Board (WCB)] insurance costs and improves productivity.”
The current three garbage trucks are well beyond their useful mechanical lives and were intended for retirement in 2011. The increase in repair costs and downtime has meant a reduction in garbage pick-up service.
Who knew a bid to modernize garbage collection would engender a great debate?
Coun. Middlebrook was first out of the gate saying the city should “get with the times.” She added that buying the automated truck was also about the “safety and health of staff.”
Coun. Roberts also said “its about time” to modernize garbage collection. She noted other East Kootenay municipalities have had great success in switching to ASLGCT.
Mayor McCormick noted that Kimberley was one of the last municipalities in the East Kootenay “to adopt automated garbage collection.”
Coun. Hoglund was not sold on the idea. He said, “Its not the way to go.” He questioned what residents would do or not do with their current garbage cans. He concluded his remarks saying the three-truck system “works well for the city.”
Coun. Kitto supports the initiative and hoped the city would “get curbside recycling one day.”
Circling back to WCB claims several times, Coun. Oakley wanted to know how many WCB claims had been made by current garbage truck operators. He also wanted to know the cost of any such claims. He noted there have been “conflicting statements about WCB claims” by city staff.
Director of Operations, Mike Fox, was not able to definitively say how many WCB claims there were and what they cost, but did indicate there had been “two or three in the last few years.” Garbage truck operators were injured due to repeatedly lifting 60-pound garbage cans all day. One operator was injured during winter slipping on ice while lifting a garbage can.
Coun. Goodwin sought confirmation from Fox on the positive impacts of moving to the automated truck.
Fox reiterated, “Automated collection is more efficient, environmentally-friendly and economical than manual collection.” More homes would be serviced in a day with the automated truck compared to the manual approach.
The mayor expects the city and council to “take heat” for moving garbage collection into the 21st Century. He said the city would be implementing a communication plan to keep residents informed about what to expect with the new garbage collection system. He also wanted it noted there would be “no cost to people” for the garbage bin as it would be “provided by the city.”
In his report, Fox noted, “residents will receive ample notice of any new system, route changes, or other requirements that may be needed, including provisions for disabled residents.”
At that, Coun. Middlebrook asked for the vote to be taken.
Councilors Goodwin, Kitto, Middlebrook, Roberts and Mayor McCormick voted to approve the purchase of the automated garbage truck, 3,050 bins and implementing the new garbage collection system.
Councilors Hoglund and Oakley voted against the initiative.
Veteran’s Memorial Park Dedication Bylaw adopted
The adoption of this bylaw formally designates the city owned land that is now the Veteran’s Memorial Park as a park.
This bylaw ensures the future land use will only be that of a park. This designation provides the land with a “high level of protection because of the relative difficulty to remove a formal park dedication,” said a report to council.
The official unveiling of the park took place July 8. Several Councilors noted the event was “packed,” it was a “great ceremony” and the park is a “great asset” for the city.
Who knew: bears and deer in the city
In a monthly report to council, the Bylaw Enforcement Officer noted that bears have been “sited in all areas” of town. Two grizzly bears were also reported in higher elevation subdivisions. The report notes that, “Residents should store garbage inside until the day of their regular pick up.”
Also in June, residents reported 11 aggressive deer incidents. Several dogs have been injured by deer and several residents chased by them.
The report urges “the public [to] be aware of deer, and educate their children on how to avoid encounters with deer as well as what to do if they come face to face with one.”
Utilities Department gets new toy
After the garbage truck debate, council unanimously passed a motion to purchase a used mini excavator for the Utilities Department. It will cost almost $59,000.
According to the Operations Department report, purchasing a used mini excavator eliminates “ongoing rental costs resulting in cost savings over the long term.” Rental costs in the last two years have been almost $23,000.
With many capital projects on the books over the next few years and the regular maintenance of water, sewer and storm water systems, the mini excavator will pay for itself. As well, the report notes, “its smaller size enables the crews to be more efficient in tight and difficult areas.”
Kimberley city council meets twice monthly. All meetings start at 7 p.m. and are open to the public. Check the city’s website here for the meeting agenda. Click on the 2017 folder and follow the link.
The next council meeting is Monday, July 24.
It’s your city, get involved.
Lead image: An example of an automated side loading garbage collection truck. It is not meant to be representative of the one to be purchased by the city.