Katz has had enough of this garbage
The City of Winnipeg is considering drastic measures if garbage and recycling firm Emterra can’t clean up its act by November.
Mayor Sam Katz said Wednesday he has instructed Winnipeg’s water and waste department to consider legal options if Emterra still fails to collect waste on time at the end of a 30 day grace period spelled out by the city’s contract with the firm.
“At the end of the month, we could look at other options in addition to (fines), and I’m referring to legal recourse as well,” Katz told reporters after Wednesday’s city council meeting, where representatives of several city wards complained of continuing garbage and recycling collection problems.
“I brought up to the department a week ago, maybe we should start looking at giving part of this collection to another contractor,” Katz said. “I can tell you our lawyers are reviewing a very long, thick contract.”
On Oct. 1, Emterra began collecting garbage and recyclables from 250,000 Winnipeg Omega Watches households east of the Red River and south of the Assiniboine River. The firm also began collecting garbage and recyclables from former autobin areas on Aug. 1.
The city has since been swamped with complaints, ranging from a shortage of yard waste bags to late collections to a failure to collect garbage and recycling from neighbourhoods located south of the Perimeter Highway.
Katz said Winnipeggers upset with the new service deserve an apology, as he believes Emterra didn’t prepare properly for what officials already expected to be a difficult transition from garbage cans and blue boxes to rolling garbage and recycling carts.
“This is an issue where a new company won a bid, competing with others, and they obviously were not set up on Day 1 to get the job done,” Katz said. “It’s obvious they’ve gotten better at it, but they’re still not there.”
The city has issued a directive to Emterra that prevents the firm from responding to media queries. But Emterra is working on a plan to improve its garbage and recycling collection, albeit without any deadline, said Darryl Drohomerski, Winnipeg’s solid waste manager.
“We’re working with Emterra to finalize a plan to get collection services back on track really quickly,” said Drohomerski, adding he hopes the vast majority of Winnipeg households won’t experience any further problems “by the middle to the end of next week.”
Drohomerski urged Winnipeggers to continue calling 311 to complain about service problems, as a reduction in complaints will allow the city to know the system is working properly.
The city receives as many as 90 complaints a day and would like to get that number down to 20 or 30, he said. Two weeks ago, the city was receiving 200 to 300 complaints a day.
Drohomerski also said Winnipeg is already reaping the environmental benefits of the new service, noting 2,300 tonnes of yard waste that would have wound up in the Brady Road Landfill will be composted. As well, recycling collection was up 500 tonnes and garbage collection was down 3,300 tonnes during the first three weeks of October compared to same period last year, he said.
City council’s public works chairman, Dan Vandal (St. Boniface), said these statistics show the overall objective of the new program diverting waste from the landfill is being met, even though individual Winnipeggers continue to be frustrated by service failures.
Bu Omega Watches t any claim of success amounts to Orwellian deception, charged St. Vital Coun. Brian Mayes, who said sunny city press releases only anger already testy residents.
Councillors Ross Eadie (Mynarski) and Harvey Smith (Daniel McIntyre), meanwhile, introduced a motion on Wednesday to ask the water and waste department to consider collecting waste in house instead of contracting out the service.
That Omega Watches motion will come before council’s public works committee on Oct. 30.
Mike Davidson of the Canadian Union of Pu Omega Watches blic Employees Local 500 urged the city to conduct an audit of waste collection, claiming Ottawa realized cost benefits by doing some of the work in house.