What started as a request to create a commercial garbage user fee ended in garbage collection by the Town of Qualicum Beach ending altogether.
During a Feb. 4 meeting, Qualicum Beach council passed a recommendation that “staff advise commercial and multi-residential properties who are receiving garbage collection from the Town of Qualicum Beach, that the service will no longer be provided as of June, 2019.”
The recommendation comes out of a memorandum from town COO Dennis Trudeau that breaks down the town’s existing garbage collection service.
The memo was created after three motions from a March 19, 2018 council meeting. One motion was for the Town of Qualicum Beach to continue to provide garbage collection. Another was for staff to come up with a user fee system for commercial garbage users. Currently, commercial properties receive the service for free.
The third was to complete negotiations with the Regional District of Nanaimo, opting into the RDN’s bylaw providing for the collection of garbage materials for single-family residential properties in Qualicum Beach.
That new service began on July 3 of 2018, with garbage, recycling and green bin material all being collected by the RDN’s independent contractor.
The change has actually brought down rates for the service.
However, Trudeau notes that fees for multi-unit residential properties that use the town’s garbage collection are likely inaccurate, and commercial establishments that still use town garbage service get it for free. However, the practice has been that, once the town-owned bins used by a commercial establishment are worn out, the establishment must arrange for private garbage collection.
More commercial and multi-unit residential establishments are now going with private contractors. The town is only equipped for garbage pickup, while private contractors can often handle recycling and compost as well.
In his memo, Trudeau notes two options to make the service fair: offer the service to all commercial and multi-residential properties in town and establish a user fee; or end the service completely.
Trudeau said he believed the town would be unable to compete with private waste collection contractors when it comes to service fees.
Staff’s recommendation was to cease service after a period of four months, having notified users. Coun. Teunis Westbroek suggested the town could work with affected users, and perhaps even continue service for a month after the deadline if the users had not succeeded in finding a contractor.
While the mayor and council members voiced support for that option, Coun. Adam Walker suggested that affected users be contacted before the decision is made.
Town CAO Daniel Sailland said the only problem with waiting to make the decision was with the town’s aging garbage collection vehicles.
“Our mechanics have informed us that the sooner we make a decision, the better.”
A motion to notify users that the service would end on June 1 passed.