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Resident questions garbage problem in Comox

Dear editor,

With so many more important things to report in the paper, here we are again talking about garbage.

This time, it’s the Town of Comox complaining about the garbage service from Emterra. (‘Comox voicing concerns over garbage pickup within town,’ August 18, 2021).

There is no garbage problem in Comox: Our garbage gets picked up weekly. Therefore, I am confused by Ken Grant’s comments that Emterra is “simply not doing [its job]” and that Comox is “paying a lot of money for nothing.”

You expect these kinds of histrionic arguments from your teenager, not from town councillors. Pat McKenna makes more uninformative, unsubstantiated claims about the service, and based on his own opinion, he doesn’t “think it’s going to get better.” Please, let’s get some more factual information involved in such discussions, especially when they are going to affect us residents and, more likely, our taxes.

At least CAO Jordan Wall presents some pertinent questions to consider, to which I am happy to provide my answers: What type of service are we going to have? The same, small-scale service with human hands and friendly faces. I like seeing the workers fulfilling a useful task and thanking them for it. Also, it is a job for these people.

Are we going to allow unlimited organics? Yes. What else are we supposed to do with our organic waste? Eat it? Are we going to move to bins? No. One garbage can of garbage per week is reasonable: It forces people to think about what they throw away and instead recycle or reuse (or not buy in the first place).

Are we going to automated tipping machines? No! This isn’t Vancouver. This isn’t even Nanaimo. We don’t need automation. If we are going down that road, who is going to own the bins? Are they going to be supplied by the municipalities or contractors? We are not going down that road.

Whether the municipalities or the contractors “supply” the bins, we citizens will always be the ones to pay for them. Nanaimo’s automated garbage service cost $8 million, with the bins themselves costing $4.5 million.

More than anything, this dissatisfaction with Emterra looks like justification for the town to buy some shiny new garbage equipment that we neither want nor need. I’m happy with the garbage service we have. I’ve collected a bunch of plastic garbage cans that serve my purpose. If we move to bins, what do I do with my garbage cans? Throw them in the garbage?

Judy Johnson

Comox