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Some Comox Valley rural residents wary of 'government-controlled monopoly'
A Merville resident suggests the Comox Valley Regional District's proposed roadside garbage/recycling collection service is not comparable with what is offered by private firms.
Ron Seabrook is commenting about a service that would allow two 121-litre garbage cans weekly. Contractors also offer the flexibility of bi-weekly, monthly and partial-year service, which enables snowbirds and those who produce small amounts of garbage to choose their level of service. Moreover, if the cost increases or service declines, Seabrook said customers can cancel the service and contract another company.
The regional district board has approved a Nov. 16 referendum date to determine if rural residents support its proposed service. According to a survey, 75 per cent of respondents support the proposal for areas A, B and C, excluding Denman and Hornby Islands, Royston and Mount Washington.
The service would cost about $150 per household per year. Comox, by comparison, charges $165 and Courtenay $160. It would include weekly garbage pickup — up to one 80-litre can provided by the homeowner — and unlimited quantities of recycling.
The main reason for the size limit is to prevent injuries to workers lifting the cans. When offered in combination with a recycling program, many communities have shifted towards a single-can-per-week limit. If the service is approved, the CVRD would explore options for allowing additional cans.
If the Nov. 16 referendum passes, residents could opt out of the service, which would not include mobile home parks and apartment buildings with more than four units.
"Anyone who thinks a government-controlled monopoly will provide better service at lower cost has not been paying attention — think ICBC. If this proposal is implemented the option of private service will be gone forever," said Seabrook, who pays $271 per year to Sun Coast Waste Services for garbage disposal.
"It's considerably more than what they're (CVRD) talking about, but I'm pretty sure after 2016 were going to be paying probably pretty close to that for one garbage can," Seabrook said, noting restrictive measures will be needed to meet the goal to divert 70 per cent of the region’s solid waste from landfills. "Whether we do it through public or private, it could still be done, but I would much rather do it through private."
Paying private contractors for garbage collection is normally a more expensive arrangement than one contractor serving every home, the CVRD has said.
The initial service contract with BFI Canada would be for three years commencing next September once a bylaw is approved.
Learn more about the proposal at an open house in the CVRD boardroom Tuesday, Oct. 22 from 5 to 8 p.m.
Residents who are eligible to vote and have resided or owned property in the proposed service area for at least 30 days prior to voting are encouraged to participate in the referendum. For details, visit www.comoxvalleyrd.ca/vote.
Special voting will be held Tuesday, Oct. 29 from 10 a.m.to 2 p.m. in the boardroom at 550B Comox Rd. in Courtenay. Advance voting is Nov. 6 and 13 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Voting Day is Nov. 16 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the boardroom and the following locations:
1. Living Waters Church, 222 Regent Rd. in Black Creek;
2. North Island Distance School, 2505 Smith Rd. in Courtenay;
3. Union Bay Community Hall, 5401 Island Hwy. South in Union Bay;
4. Fanny Bay OAP Hall, 418 Ships Point Rd. in Fanny Bay.
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The CVRD's proposed recycling program is 'single-stream,' which precludes the need to sort materials. Items would need to be placed in marked containers or bags.
Acceptable items would include:
• Beverage containers/milk jugs;
• Plastics #1 through #7;
• Metal food containers (rinsed with labels removed);
• Newsprint and boxboard;
• Cardboard (flattened and tied);\
• Paper/mixed waste paper (junk mail, telephone books, magazines, envelopes and stationary).
Unacceptable items include glass, Styrofoam, household hazardous waste (paint, motor oil, antifreeze, batteries, electronics), plastic film and most wrapping paper.