Coquitlam to tender garbage pick-up

Could Coquitlam soon have automated garbage collection like in Port Moody? - tri-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO
Could Coquitlam soon have automated garbage collection like in Port Moody?
— image credit: tri-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO

A key municipal service will continue to be done by outside hands in Coquitlam.

On Monday, staff said the city will ask for private firms to bid on a new garbage and recycling contract that begins July 1, 2014.

Currently in Coquitlam, trash, recycling and green waste pick-up at 24,000 single-family houses and 16,000 multi-family homes is done by Smithrite Disposal at a cost of $5.8 million annually. The company has had the contract since 2009.

Bill Susak, Coquitlam's general manager of engineering and public works, said whatever shape the new collection contract takes, it will be a huge overhaul for residents who are used to manual pick-up in diesel trucks.

Susak said the tender — due to be issued later this month — will ask private companies to come with the "best value" and technology for Coquitlam service delivery over seven years. These options include:

• automated curbside collection using municipally owned carts;

• collection of recyclables in a single cart rather than the current source-separated;

• bi-weekly collection of trash and recyclables;

• weekly collection of green waste;

• and choices in collection cart sizes, allowing for upsizing or downsizing.

The recommendations come following a solid waste management study by the city last year.

Ken Landgraff, president of CUPE Local 386, which represents civic workers in Coquitlam, was unavailable for comment by press time yesterday.

But in his report to council-in-committee on Monday, Susak stated that going outside would be cheaper than an in-house service. As well, the city would need to buy 24 collection vehicles and have land for storage and maintenance of the trucks.

To complicate matters, Susak said the city is trying to come to grips with upcoming provincial rules for recycling glass and printed paper. And the city is required to meet Metro Vancouver's target to divert at least 70% of its waste out of landfills by 2015.

Coquitlam's current diversion rate is around 55% — much lower than in neighbouring Port Coquitlam and Port Moody, both of which have had automated collection for years.

"We are in a situation where we need to be flexible" with the next collection contract, Susak told the committee.

Coun. Craig Hodge said the city needs to make garbage pick-up easy for residents but citizens, too, have to start making significant changes about how they dispose of trash.

Coun. Terry O'Neill cited last year's Ipsos-Reid poll showing Coquitlam residents are generally happy with the current pick-up service but said he looks forwards to Coquitlam having a collection service like those in PoCo and PoMo.

Coun. Lou Sekora said he wouldn't be happy with a bi-weekly pick-up and Coun. Selina Robinson opposed the option to have a single-stream recycling system. She said she's used to sorting out her recyclables in blue and yellow bags, and a blue box, and returning to a single stream would increase the risk of contamination from other products.

Coun. Mae Reid, a Metro Vancouver director for Coquitlam, said a single-stream recycling system would save money for taxpayers.


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