Council accepts garbage collection route changes

Masha Scheele
Local Journalism Initiative

Changes to the Solid Waste Collection Route Options were accepted by council and a type of bin was selected during the standing committee meeting on Aug. 25.

Administration will implement the collection routes as operationally safe and efficient.

“This is going to be something that evolves a little bit, there’s going to be challenges we don’t know about yet and opportunities we don’t know about yet,” said Coun. Dewly Nelson.

He added that the report on route changes will be helpful for residents to know what’s coming.

The findings in the report on routes support that most homes that have back alley access would be able to switch to front street pickup safely and efficiently.

In only one area, on Sutherland Ave from upper Collinge Road to Rispler Way, it would be safer and more efficient to keep waste pickup in the back alley.

This is due to a congested narrow front street with many duplexes and a much wider back alley than most.

Emdad Haque, director of infrastructure services, explained that in most other areas, back alley bin placement in the winter would add to the challenge for the residents, as service levels for back alleys are considerably less than front streets, and back alleys are darker than front streets.

Approximately 27 to 30 homes may not be able to have front street collection due to poor or no access to the front street, stated the report.

Each resident will be consulted throughout the implementation of route changes.

Haque added that while some residents may prefer pickup in the back and some may prefer pickup in the front, administration will work to find solutions that may not please everybody.

“It has to be safe and operationally efficient,” Haque said. “We will work with them to address concerns.”

Mayor Marcel Michaels indicated he would be in support of a report for information on feedback from residents about the changes before the routes are implemented.

He added that in some areas, it’s more than just about safety and efficiency, but also about resident preference.

Coun. Trevor Haas noted that he was confident in administration working with anyone who has concerns.

If it doesn’t impact safety or efficiency, convenience for residents should be considered by administration, stated Nelson.

He added that he had no interest in citizens coming to council with requests for route changes and this would allow administration to make decisions to change routes based on preference.

CAO Emily Olsen voiced her concern with the inclusion of convenience, and that it should be discussed only when safety and efficiency are achieved.

Haque pointed out that if ten people like front pickup and six like back alley pickup, then the town has a big challenge on how to pick up each bin.

Haas agreed and added that this would cause challenges between residents as well.

“When administration did this review, it focused on safety and efficiency and part of that safety of using the back alleys or not, included the ability for vehicles to pass, the congestion in different areas, snow removal considerations and we really only proposed with back alley collection in areas where it was less efficient and less safe to do it on the front,” Olsen said.

Haque added that the safety aspect is not just for the operator, but also for the resident.

If any challenges are brought up, administration will bring those complaints to council for a decision.

Committee then recommended council to go ahead with the bins selected by council out of various options presented by administration.

The regular toter bins with a DuraLatch were selected as the bins to be used by residents in the solid waste collection program.

Administration was directed to proceed with implementation of the modernized waste collection program and retrofit the existing bins with the DuraLatch system.

This decision will come to a regular council meeting for further decision as it comes with a financial decision.

The DuraLatch is a simple latch that stands up to rain, wind gusts up to 65 mph, animals, and the day-to-day use of curbside waste collection. 

Haque hoped to present a DuraLatch to council but the package had not arrived prior to the meeting.

Olsen noted that Council will be able to take a look at the lock at the next meeting.

DuraLatch features gravity-based functionality, meaning the lid opens automatically when the garbage truck tips and empties the cart. It then latches when the cart is set back down on the curb.

These are the most common and affordable bins available for front load pickup and are already utilized in the pilot program area of East Hardisty.

The estimated cost for each DuraLatch part is $10 and can be installed on bins at any time.

The bins come with a 12-year body warranty and cost between $80 and $95 depending on its size.

This includes hot stamping of Town of Hinton logo and shipping. 

The estimated Capital cost of replacing 3000 96-gallon bins for Single Family Households will be $270,000.

A big concern during the pilot program was lids blowing open and that the DuraLock would ensure it stays closed, Coun. Albert Ostashek noted.

Nelson questioned that since the Town has not tested the bins, if one batch could be purchased for administration to have the opportunity to look at them.

“I wonder if a more staged approach may save administration a bit of time in the end,” Nelson said.

The decision to move on to the new bins and purchase the bins will be made by council at the next regular council meeting.