Letters to the editor.

LETTER – A garbage collection alternative for Comox Valley Regional District to consider

Dear editor,

I noticed that the CVRD’s proposal for garbage pickup was rejected the second time by ratepayers via the alternative approval process. I venture to guess that it is because most think that the service as proposed is too costly and not flexible enough to suit changing requirements etc. Maybe administration and council should consider a “Chevy” solution rather than going for a “Cadillac” solution at this point in time.

I don’t live in the regional district (we reside on Cummings Road in SE Courtenay), but we used to farm and live in a thinly populated rural area (compared to the CVRD) in the Peace River country of northwestern Alberta. The municipality we resided in was the “County (which appears to be similar to that of an RD) of Northern Lights.” Approximately 4,200 residents live in this county that covers 8,000 square miles. Of course, regular garbage pickup was out of the question. Originally, pits for garbage disposal were dug in strategic locations on vacant land throughout the county. It was less than satisfactory for several reasons but was better than the alternative of residents tossing their garbage over creekbanks, ravines etc. Then, the Province of Alberta initiated an alternative, eventually implementing it in most of the rural areas, and it works quite well:

In our county a number of transfer stations were built, many of them located on land where the original garbage disposal pits were. On the site, a substantial concrete wall about six feet high and 20 – 30 feet long (depending on capacity desired) was constructed. This wall would be substantially reinforced, and the footing anchored into the soil quite well. A low horizontal pipe guard would be installed about a foot so on the top of the wall. On one side of the wall, earth fill would be placed to make a wide ramp for cars and light trucks to drive up on. On the other side of the wall, a row of dumpsters would be placed. Ratepayers would bring their garbage with cars and light trucks, drive up on the ramp and back up to the pipe guard and throw their garbage over into a dumpster. Periodically, garbage trucks equipped with the proper attachment would come, empty the dumpsters, and deliver to the landfill.

The transfer station would have a 6’ high chain-link fence encircling it with a lockable gate and a small site manager “house” at the gate. Each transfer station would have a part-time attendant to supervise the transfer of garbage etc. It is mandatory for the transfer station to be supervised during the time it is open to ensure people would dispose of their material properly.

The hours and the days each station was open would be determined by the level of use at each site.

Pallets can be laid in a corner of the property to accept white metal (stoves, fridges, washers, etc.). Bins could be set up to take recyclables, scrap iron, etc. Even bins for yard waste could be installed.

To help recover the operational costs of such stations, a small economical electronic platform scale large enough to accept cars and small trucks could be installed so fees could be collected for incoming material, just like it is at the landfill site.

I think that such a system is worth discussing, considering, and costing out. Then if it appears economically feasible, a proposal could be submitted to the ratepayers of CVRD for consideration.

To be clear, I don’t own a fleet of garbage trucks nor equipment and personnel to build transfer stations. I am a retired senior citizen making a suggestion that may help many of the fine people I know in the CVRD to have a garbage collection system that works and should be fairly economical.

Thank you for your time.

Len Paulovich,


Letter to the Editor