Discussion continues over Area “G” curbside collection issues

  • May. 3, 2011 8:00 a.m.

Area “G” director Elef Christensen refuses to give up quest to have RDOS staff rethink its curbside pickup program

(Part one of two parts)

We the pensioners in Area “G”, and we are over 64 per cent of them, can’t afford any increase in fees; we could if the government would increase our pension accordingly, but they say there is no money for that, we say no money for any increase in anything, specifically the garbage issue.

Let’s go back to the January 6 board meeting where administration recommended that the Environment & Infrastructure Committee recommends that the RDOS Board authorize the award of the “Collection of Garbage, Compostable Materials and large items and collection, processing and marketing of recycling materials” Request for proposal for the Village of Keremeos, Red Wing Resorts and participating rural Electoral Areas to BFI Canada for a five year term starting July 1.

Before this, eight separate waste collection companies submitted proposals, six companies submitted prices for all service areas, two of the companies, Waste Management and Okanagan Waste, submitted proposals to service only some of the areas.

BFI Canada recently “merged” with Waste Service, the company that presently has the contract with RDOS.

When Area “G” joined RDOS garbage system it was noted that all service areas would pay the same amount for contract cost pickup, a  five year contract that runs out at the end of June, and the cost would be billed on taxes, we all know what happened to that. This cost was as per 2010,  $78,61 per year/home. BFI proposed now for a five year contract cost yearly/home :

Area  “A”  $89.18 = 13 per cent increase – “B” $92.85 = 18 per cent – “C”  $104.58 = 33 per cent -“D” $79.81 =two per cent  Area DEF $112.94 =44 per cent – “G” $122.55 = 56 per cent, Keremeos Village $78.26 = 0 per cent and Red Wing resort $69..47 = -12 per cent.

The estimated increase of contractor cost in relation to the existing curb side contract and the rates submitted by BFI Canada are the ones above, these increases are for a full year of service and do not reflect yearly transport CPI increases over the lifetime of the contract. Beware, contractor costs are a portion of the overall cost of the program, so these costs do not reflect percentage increase to user rates, what that was, was not clear at that time.

A few of us directors did not accept this, we were asking what about the cost for every second week pickup or I suggested every 10 days, less driving,  and after some discussion I managed to get the voting postponed  to the next board meeting, as a lot of numbers, cost service etc. were unclear.

BFI Canada had not at this time been awarded the contract, but it seems like an understanding was there, as it looked like they were the lowest bidder (other contractors I  heard had pulled out) BFI provided points to explain why rates are different between service areas.

Please keep in mind that the current contractor has done a good job and to my knowledge there has not been any problems in the last five years, here are the points and reasons for the differences, on a new contract.

• Unpaved or difficult rural roads within some components of service areas A,C,D,E,F, and G will be serviced by a specialized four wheel driven collection vehicle. This represents excess capital which drives the cost per household higher for these areas (some one please tell me what does the current contractor do now, is he not picking up garbage in these so called areas?).

• Area “G” has the highest cost per residence of any area because it is the farthest away (from what dump?).

• “D”,”E” and “F” although closer than “A” has lower productivity (stops per hour), (that should only make it cheaper!).

• Area “B” has more driving time than “A” which makes it less productive (stops per hour) which drives a higher cost (that is a good one).

• Area “C” has lower productivity (stops per hour) than Area “A” which drives a higher cost (maybe Area “A” should be free?).

As you can see in the above we are now not living in a perfect world where we are all equal according to the above, we were five  years ago. Now we need four wheel drives to get around.

I, director Christensen showed immediately that this was unreasonable and I would not accept that increase, I asked what alternative there was, and got no answer. The board was told by the Solid Waste Management Coordinator that the pricing per area seems to follow industry standards and seems to reflect the true cost of servicing these individual areas.

Sorry, but I refuse to believe this. I mentioned we should take a serious look  at garbage collection every two weeks with two or three bags and unlimited recycling. I was thinking mostly of the Similkameen, where hauling costs are pushing the cost of service up substantially. This could have the same effect as one bag per week but a much smaller carbon emission and should be close to half the cost.

To be continued: Part two next week


– By Elef Christensen