The Town of Qualicum Beach will be outsourcing its garbage collection services to the Regional District of Nanaimo. — NEWS file photo

Qualicum Beach to use RDN services for trash collection

Council says outsourcing waste pickup will be more efficient

There was some trash talking that took place at Qualicum Beach council meeting on Monday night, March 19, but not in the figurative sense. This time, the trash talk was literal.

The issue was about staff’s recommendation to outsource garbage collection for single-family residential properties to the Regional District of Nanaimo. It was not entirely welcomed by council.

Councillor Barry Avis was against it and requested that votes be recorded. Based on the survey conducted by the town, Avis pointed out that 85 per cent of the respondents wanted to retain the status quo while six per cent of residents favoured the proposal. He also believes that the town is already paying a lower rate compared to the RDN fees, as it uses garbage collection protocol to hire students as part of the municipality’s job training program.

“The idea of providing a style of town as we are — and we pride ourselves in being a small town with local services — I think it’s important to the people. It’s important to the people of Qualicum Beach to see that,” said Avis. “That’s why I asked for a recorded vote because there’s things that, from my opinion as just one councillor, I don’t like to see what’s happening to our town. We’re moving away from a small-town, quality style of town. I think life is more than just money. If we’re saying we’re going to move away from our local employees doing this because each household is going to save $17, which I am questioning because we have a rate here that nobody else has at $23.71, I really have a problem with it. I have a problem with the direction.”

Mayor Teunis Westbroek agreed residents favoured the current garbage collection in the survey, but he pointed out the efficiencies that would be created from outsourcing the garbage collection was not included.

“I don’t think they would say ‘We don’t like it’ if it is more efficient,” said Westbroek. “Or ‘We hate it even more’ if it became so efficient and produced less greenhouse gas. They never saw that option. But that’s the option we’re looking at. It will reduce greenhouse gases.”

Westbroek added he has seen redundancy in the garbage collection at present, as there are two collections taking place in Qualicum Beach.

“Right now I have seen it in front of my place. The green bin truck goes and then later a garbage truck goes by. That doesn’t make any sense,” said Westbroek.

“Parksville caught on to that. The RDN caught on to that. They have the same truck pick it up. That makes sense. That’s efficient and reduces greenhouse gas.”

Councillor Neil Horner highlighted the benefits of switching to the RDN’s garbage collection services based on the briefs he received from staff.

“It’s cheaper, it makes logical sense, the move doesn’t cost any jobs; it just moves them around,” said Horner. “And they’re all union jobs, so they stay union jobs. And the RDN plans to reduce garbage by 90 per cent so they’re only picking up about 10 per cent of what they used to pick up. Those are the positives that have been laid out for me.”

Horner encouraged his colleagues to convince him why they should not proceed with this plan. “I don’t see a strong case on the other side,” he said.

Councillor Anne Skipsey said this move will cause more damage to the relationship the town has with its union employees, a relationship she said is still recovering from the last labour dispute in 2015.

“I have spoken to a number of employees myself, and they and the union are not in favour of contracting out this municipal service,” said Skipsey.

“I believe this is not a move in the right direction, especially when we will soon be going into contract negotiations.”

The motion for the town to switch to the RDN garbage collection services for single-family residential properties eventually passed 3-2. Avis and Skipsey voted against it while Westbroek, Horner and Bill Luchtmeijer endorsed it.

Send story tips to:

Just Posted

Changes coming to BC Ferries reservations for Vancouver Island routes

Many customers are booking multiple reservations, inflating wait times

Discarded needles, theft from homes and businesses keep Oceanside RCMP hopping

Crime report also includes cannabis-related infraction

Dance production on Holocaust survivors wins One Act Play Fest

ECHO Players’ Kerry Campbell takes home best actress award at Qualicum Beach festival

Search for contaminant at Little Qualicum Cheeseworks continues

Company ‘blown away’ by community support after E. coli recall of Qualicum Spice cheese

BC Housing now involved in Parksville supportive housing project lawsuit

Agency listed as a defendant alongside city over 222 Corfield rezoning

Riders deliver Christmas toys to SOS on horseback

Annual Silver Spur riding Club Toy Ride took place on Sunday, Nov. 18

Canadian Armed Forces to change approach to sexual assault investigations

New program aimed at a more open and transparent process, will consult with civilians, health and law professionals

UPDATE: Death of 38-year-old Fernie man at B.C. coal mine under investigation

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. Sunday morning

Breathing polluted air during pregnancy may increase odds of baby having autism: SFU study

Study looked at nearly all births in Metro Vancouver between 2004 and 2009

Six students arrested, charged in sex assault probe at Toronto all-boys school

The school’s principal, Greg Reeves, described the video of the alleged sexual assault as ‘horrific’

Bankruptcies in British Columbia on the rise

Consumer bankruptcies climbed by 6. 1 per cent in August 2018 from the same month last year.

World Toilet Day floats some serious health issues

Needs More Spikes blog finds 136 people are currently peeing in Vancouver Island city

Calgary Stampeders back to Grey Cup with 22-14 win over Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Calgary was favoured to win the 2017 and 2016 Grey Cups, but lost to the Toronto Argonauts and Ottawa Redblacks respectively.

‘A giant step forward’: new $10 bill featuring Viola Desmond to enter circulation

A new $10 banknote featuring Viola Desmond’s portrait will go into circulation, just over 72 years after she was ousted from the whites-only section of a movie theatre in New Glasgow, N.S.

Most Read