UPDATE: Will MMBC be ready for Coquitlam condos?
Setting it straight
Re. "Coq. questions about multi-fam. recycling" (The Tri-City News, March 12).
In an article published Wednesday, it was reported new waste carts for single-family homeowners in Coquitlam will roll out in late April or early May. In fact, residents will have until April 25 to select their cart size (no action is required for those who want to receive the standard-sized carts of 240 litres). The new bins will arrive at homes between mid-May and mid-June.
Coquitlam residents will see big changes to their garbage and recycling pick-up starting in July.
But city council and staff raised a red flag this week about how the recycling collection will roll out for more than half of the municipality's population living in apartments and townhouses.
At Monday's council-in-committee meeting, council grilled Allen Langdon, managing director of Multi Material BC (MMBC) — the industry stewardship group that will be in charge of recycling throughout B.C. as of May 19 — about its readiness to handle recyclables at Coquitlam's many multi-family housing complexes.
City staff said they believe MMBC is too "hands off" with its multi-family diversion approach.
"Right now, we feel like things are in hand," Langdon said, noting assigned contractors (and those bidding for a contract) are talking with strata building managers about the system.
Langdon said MMBC has three companies that are expected to haul recyclables from Coquitlam apartments and townhomes, and they're working to sync with the city's new garbage pick-up, which will launch July 2.
Steffanie Warriner, Coquitlam's environmental services manager, said while the MMBC contract for single-family homes will be awarded soon, the transition for multi-family units needs to be monitored closely.
City staff have been meeting weekly with MMBC about the implementation and, this week, council is expected to send a letter to the group to reiterate its concerns. Warriner said lack of participation by multi-family residents would mean more recyclables end up in the landfill, which would hurt the city's diversion targets.
Coun. Brent Asmundson said MMBC's vagueness about recyclables collection isn't helping. "Our staff have had difficulty with your communication strategy," he said, to which Langdon responded that contracts need to be in place first.
"We have every intention of moving forward," Langdon said. "The results of the [request for proposals] will be out shortly.... We will be in a better place to judge how comfortable you are with the service then."
To add to Coquitlam's waste-hauling worries, city manager Peter Steblin told council on Monday it's unlikely the Coquitlam Transfer Station will close on June 30.
He said Metro Vancouver could extend the lease to Wastech until June 30, 2016, giving Coquitlam two more years before it will be forced to increase disposal costs to truck it out to the Surrey Transfer Station.
Still, while the city continues to seek answers from MMBC and Metro Vancouver, city managers said this week they're ready to market the new curbside garbage pick-up by BFI Canada.
Under the automated program that starts July 2, homeowners in single-family residences will get new bins in late April or early May. Residents will get to choose their cart size: 120, 240 or 360 litres. Collection will be weekly for the green can (food and yard trimmings) and every other week for mixed waste (garbage that can't be recycled or put in the green can). Visit coquitlam.ca/curbsidecollection for more information on the program.