Regional district directors read an adminstrative report discussing the benefits of a one container limit for curbside collection customers in the RDOS at the January 24 board meeting.
The staff report suggested that, based on data collected from Oliver and Osoyoos, where a one bag limit exists, the regional district could see a “significant drop” in the average amount of waste collected under a one container policy.
The report goes on to say that Oliver and Osoyoos experienced a “small, vocal opposition at first,” and that the higher the median age the less waste collected.
Moving to a one bag limit under the current terms of the regional district’s contract with BFI will not save any money on collection fees. The regional district could save between $2 and $2.30 per year per home per year in landfill fees, however.
Is this a good deal for regional district taxpayers? We think not. Many households in the regional district are made up of residents in the higher median age bracket, residents who likely live in two person households and can keep weekly garbage limits at low levels, simply because their consumption is low – not necessarily because they are any better at recycling.
It’s also a bad idea because it amounts to a reduction of contracted service to which residents agreed to pay the present fees for. It’s unfair to the householder to expect him / her to continue paying the same rate for a reduction in service. It’s also a discriminatory policy, because, as the staff report admits, larger households and families will be hit the hardest – those whose incomes are already stretched.
A more realistic policy – and one that would at least attempt to be fair – would be to provide “tag a bag” stickers to allow for two bags for, say 40 weeks per year, and slowly reduce the number of “tag a bag” stickers provided each year. At the end of the present contract with BFI, residents will at least have had some opportunity to get used to the reduction in services – without it having quite so negative an impact on a young family’s pocketbook.