By Trevor Busch
Waste collection carts will soon be rolling into Taber as part of the municipality’s solid waste initiative to replace the present system of large-scale bin collection.
However, the decision wasn’t arrived at without pitfalls for town council, requiring three revised motions before finally being passed.
During an initial vote at their Sept. 14 meeting, council voted 4-3 to defeat a motion to award the contract for solid waste and recycling carts to IPL Industries for $508,053.50, and table a $75,000 contingency for a total upset limit of $583,053.50. Coun.(s) Rick Popadynetz, Jack Brewin and Joe Strojwas were the only votes in favour of the motion.
In a second motion, council voted 4-2 to defeat a motion to award the contract for solid waste and recycling carts to IPL Industries for $508,053.50, and approves a $75,000 contingency for a total upset limit of $583,053.50. Ross-Giroux and De Vlieger were the only votes in favour of the second motion.
Strojwas chose to abstain from the second vote, but in an odd reversal, put pressure on other councillors to overcome their reservations.
“Well fellow councillors, we have a (garbage) truck coming, but we have nothing for the truck to pick up and carry, so we need to come to a decision.”
In a final follow-up motion, town council voted 4-3 to approve a motion to award the contract for solid waste and recycling carts to IPL Industries for $508,053.50 (with no allowance for a contingency). Prokop, Sparks and Brewin voted in opposition to the motion.
Prior to the Sept. 14 meeting, a Request for Proposals for collection carts had been administered, which included pricing for supply, delivery and distribution of 2,900 360-litre (96 gallon) recycling carts, 2,900 240-litre (64 gallon) organics carts, 2,900 120-litre (32 gallon) garbage carts, and 2,900 seven-litre “kitchen catchers”. In the 2015 budget, $630,000 had been allocated for the purchase of roll-out bins.
“In the carts is a chip that shows location, you can get all sorts of information off it, but I need the software for it,” said public works director Gary Scherer.
Four submittals were received, including IPL Environmental ($508,053.50), Toter ($628,868), Haul-All ($569,821), and Raymax Equipment ($532,836).
Administration was also requesting a $75,000 contingency to purchase in-mold labels on the top of organics and recycling carts, and to purchase software to track all collection cart locations and weights.
“The in-mold labeling, on top, some of these suppliers said it’s nice to have in-mold labels with all of the stuff that goes into the cart — but what if you took an item off?” said Scherer. “You’re stuck with this item on top of the cart. So we wanted to make sure we got that labeling right. It may be that we just want to put on there ‘for a complete list of recyclables, please see the town website’ and we might not want to do the in-mold labels.”
After months of deliberation by town council and administration, including a split 4-3 vote to defeat implementation of a cart-based municipal solid waste initiative in late 2014, the Town of Taber recently directed administration (following a 5-2 vote of town council in early 2015) to begin implementation of the changes to the town’s municipal solid waste and recycling system.
Also, that administration keep council regularly updated on the initiative to allow for input and fine tuning of the new system.
Administration believes the new system will save the municipality a substantial sum (estimated at over $200,000 annually) based on the composting element, and is expected to be break even regarding recycling, while increasing recycling volumes.
According to administration, while the town’s existing municipal solid waste system may be easy to use, it is inefficient and ineffective. The system being proposed by administration is very common in North America, but a three-cart system to be utilized by the town is more “leading edge” because of the composting component, which is likely to be mandatory in Alberta in future.
Key elements of implementation include immediately initiating the change from bins to carts; holding public meetings for educational and system refinement benefits; begin with blue recycle carts and large garbage carts, before adding the composting component once an approved facility has been constructed; start in low-density residential areas, before adding apartments, industrial and commercial properties in future; formulation of a solution for disposal of large items that can currently be placed in bins, to avoid dumping of materials once the bins are removed; and work with the M.D. of Taber to ensure a solution for dealing with waste currently placed in town bins.
In order to implement the strategy, administration has proposed holding public open houses in coming months for information and customization input; finalize selection of carts in terms of design, size, number, on-cart messaging, and supplier; begin identification of pickup routes and schedules, based on elimination of hand pick routes in initial stages of implementation; development of pamphlets for town residents to inform them of the new system; continue work to create a cost-effective compost site; and investigate optimal methods for disposal of the recyclable material collected.
Council initiated discussion of various methods to improve the Town of Taber’s municipal solid waste system several years ago. A study undertaken in 2012 suggested the preferred option was to move away from the current bin system to a variation of the roll-out cart system used by a significant percentage of communities in North America. At the time, this initiative had originally stalled in the face of unresolved questions from council and public opposition.
In conjunction with the town’s recently approved roll-out three cart municipal solid waste initiative, it was anticipated that a composting facility in close proximity to the town would represent significant savings to residents through waste diversion, up to an estimated $200,000 annually, or roughly $85 per tonne in savings through reduced hauling and tipping fees. Finished material from a compost site is also expected to be used to top-dress town sports fields and parks.
Bio-Can applied to the M.D. of Taber for a development permit for the compost site in late 2014, but was ultimately refused by the M.D. of Taber’s Subdivision and Development Authority on April 20 due to concerns over odours and debris.
The alternative site selected by administration is on 80th Avenue, roughly mid-way between 50th Street and Highway 36, and is considered to be removed from residential areas with good access.
At their June 8 meeting, town council voted 4-2 to approve the purchase of a solid waste collection truck from Haul-All Equipment Systems in the amount of $299,999. The collection truck will have a dual-arm collection system which allows the vehicle to gather all waste or recycling material with one pass in the lanes, reducing lane maintenance, promoting fuel economy, and overall safety. The expected delivery date of the collection truck is November 2015.
Future considerations will include discussion of implementation of a municipal solid waste collection system for the industrial area, consideration of an optimal way to collect waste from higher-density dwellings, such as apartments, and determine the need for a second garbage truck.
The municipal solid waste initiative is a system of collection which would eliminate the need to sort containers at home and deliver them to a central location, replacing it with a system where recyclables would be picked up in one cart at each resident’s property.Other municipalities in Alberta have moved to municipal solid waste disposal systems similar to that being proposed by town administration for Taber, although only a relative handful have moved to a full three-cart recycling and disposal system.
Referencing the three motion required to arrive at a positive outcome, mostly hinging on objections to the inclusion of a $75,000 contingency, Sparks requested more information be provided in future.
“I hope this is an important lesson for administration, because instead of just listening to a contingency, we need to know exactly what that is, and the breakdown. It would be nice to know, so we know.”