Village garbage concerns discussed at public meeting


A public meeting to discuss village garbage concerns with Linden Council was held at the Cultural Centre on Monday evening, January 12, 2015.   Present at the meeting were about 60 residents.   Council had on display a sample garbage bin roll out cart that they had planned to order, along with a few example photos of the kind of messes that face garbage crews and deface the public image of the Village.   Ron Cox of Community Futures in Strathmore proved himself adept as moderator for the evening, keeping comments brief, orderly, and on point.   From comments made, it was clear that the community was not in favor of the arbitrary decision to force new garbage bins on all residents, and that the Village should instead, step up its enforcement of the offenders.  Mayor Van der Meer commented that Council would be looking at a utility by-law at its next regular meeting, to supply a base for enforcement, that would include garbage.   Clr. Robinson clarified that all residents pay for garbage pick up, even if they haul it themselves to the dump site.  “Garbage fees include the hauling of the garbage from the dump site to Drumheller Solid Waste.”    
Most felt that residents obtained garbage bins suitable to their own residential needs, storage location, and budget.  Dictating a one-size fits all bin would not necessarily be a solution to what is considered a ‘human’ problem, nor would it be convenient for everyone.   Said one resident, “Is one of the problems I am seeing in these pictures, more about non-bagged garbage?  If weeds grow around a property, a warning letter is sent and then a fine given.  From what I am seeing, this is a human problem; not a bin problem.”   Even though the price tag for a quality bin wasn’t outrageous at $70, a few had concerns that there was the potential to have to repay that fee for new bins should the first ones get damaged in winds, by abuse, or stolen.   It was asked if these bins were truly more convenient for workers, both in terms of lifting the weight and the time involved to remove bags from every household bin, since many residents regularly place the bags at the curb for morning pick-up.   Another question to Council was whether it had considered any other options, to whit Council replied, “These bins seemed to be the best solution arrived at.”  Another resident suggested a recycling program could help reduce the number of bags being hauled to the dump.  Clarification was required to the approximate number of offending bins in the community.   It was generalized that there were 379 homes/properties in the community, with one third utilizing the wood bins, and a third of those having an issue of some sort.   Quite a number of residents were exasperated by the thought of having to replace their well-maintained, well built boxes with a new bin just for the sake of a few offenders, who in all likely hood still wouldn’t comply.

There was a question put to Council as to what the future might hold regarding garbage.   Council took note, based on a suggestion from the public, as to whether a lifting arm could be installed on the present truck and whether it would be cheaper than a new truck.    Council did confirm that a new truck to handle these type of bins was not on its list of priorities.    Clr. Moon reported on the future possibilities of producing heat from garbage.   He advised that there was a plant in Vancouver and a small one in Edmonton and Drumheller Solid Waste was presently part of a group looking at such an incinerator for South-Central Alberta.   Mayor Van der Meer advised, that at present, there were grants available for communities to collaborate on programs, such as garbage, but so far, surrounding communities were not on the same page, but it was being looked at.