They also approved the purchase of 6000 blue recycling roll cart in the 2015 Capital Budget, a cost of approximately $550,000 not including tax, with funds coming from the Gas Tax fund, and also agreed to purchase additional carts and collection service if the need arises.
Under the new agreement, garbage and recycling are being collected on alternating weeks, contracted with Multi-Materials British Columbia (MMBC).
City staff essentially gave council two options to choose from, both presenting different advantages and disadvantages.
Their options were either to sign on for the weekly collection of both garbage and recycling, or the more popular prospect among council, which is to have the collection of both waste and recycling on alternative weeks.
Choosing the option of weekly pick up would result in the reduction of volume in which residents accumulate but would also add to the cost of collection, seeing how the contractor would either have to make two separate collection runs to each property, or purchase a two compartment truck.
The option chosen, alternative pick-up weeks, is seen as the most cost affective option but also presents its own challenges, as city staff anticipates a tendency for people to throw recyclables into the garbage cart one week and garbage in the recycling cart the next.
With that in mind, City Manager Dianne Hunter says the city will soon be rolling out extensive education material for residents of Fort St. John in hopes it will result in a better understanding of what materials are allowed in the recycling carts, how the alternating shifts work, and improve recycling percentages.
“I just want to make sure we got some communications that will go out with this because it is alternating weeks,” Mayor Ackerman inquired.
Hunter responded, “Absolutely there needs to be a public awareness campaign. What we are recommending is, if council’s favorable, than we will proceed in this direction.”
The City of Fort St. John was given the opportunity earlier this year to join MMBC’s curbside recycling program, just as Prince George and Quesnel did, but decided instead to wait and determine the success of the program in other communities.
Curbside recycling exists today in Fort St. John on a voluntarily privately contracted user pay basis which affects approximately 600 households to date. In addition, depot recycling is available for those wishing to haul their own recycling through Eco-Depot.
Once this new arrangement comes into play; the aforementioned alternatives are seemingly going to become a thing of the past.