City of Nanaimo staff updated city council on the Phase 2 rollout of automated garbage collection at a meeting May 28. (Global Affinity Communications Inc./City of Nanaimo)

Automated garbage collection about to roll out for the rest of Nanaimo

City staff says new garbage truck will be needed next year

With Phase 2 of automated garbage collection about to roll out, the City of Nanaimo is looking at what’s next for waste pickup.

A new truck by summer 2019 and a possible pay-as-you-throw system after that are some ideas that will be discussed later this year.

The Sort Toss Roll Phase 2 implementation plan was presented at Monday’s council meeting, and the rollout is expected to happen on schedule, city staff reported. The total project cost, according to a staff report, is $7.9 million, including $4.1 million for carts and $3.3 million for eight trucks.

Delivery of the carts will commence for north and south Nanaimo starting June 11, automated collection will begin in some areas the first week of July, and the system will be fully implemented across the city by the end of July.

Coun. Bill Yoachim said his neighbourhood has automated collection and he has become a “total believer” in the system.

“I was probably one of the skeptical [ones]. In the last year and a half I wasn’t sure, you guys heard my comments in closed doors,” he said. “I’m a believer. It’s phenomenal … I look forward to all residents having what we experienced in Phase 1 because it’s a great system.”

RELATED: Names picked for Nanaimo’s new automated garbage trucks

RELATED: Garbage rates increasing by greater percentage than reported

Charlotte Davis, city manager of sanitation, recycling and public works administration, said so far there have been no injuries to workers on the automated routes, while workers have continued to sustain injuries on manual routes. As well, she reported that contamination of recycling has gone down.

“Which is quite unusual for an automated system and Recycle B.C. are very pleased with us for that,” she said.

Former city manager Tracy Samra had expressed concern about organic waste processing capacity, but according to the Phase 2 implementation plan, prepared by Global Affinity Communications, there is a low risk of problems as Nanaimo Organic Waste is undergoing upgrades.

“[The Regional District of Nanaimo] is currently negotiating to expand processing capacity with Nanaimo Organic Waste, so that’s on their desk,” said David Thompson, city manager of sanitation and recycling.

New route will be needed soon

Looking ahead, Davis said due to the growth of Nanaimo, a new garbage collection route will be necessary in 2019, and that will mean the city will need to purchase another truck and hire another worker. According to a staff report, optimal maximum route size for one of the large trucks is 650 stops on an eight-hour shift.

“Our route sizes have not changed with automation,” Davis said. “We are no more productive with automation than we were with manual collection, save the fact that we’re also now collecting yard waste.”

She said staff will bring a business case to council for the new route and Bill Sims, director of public works, said the new route would not yet have been factored into the city’s financial plan.

“That worries me that we’re talking new routes when we didn’t talk about that two years ago,” said Coun. Jerry Hong.

story continues below

Incentivized waste diversion to be discussed

Another concept raised at Monday’s meeting was pay-as-you-throw. Davis said since the city began separate organics collection in 2012, waste diversion rates have stagnated at 64 per cent and further measures will be necessary to achieve the 90 per cent diversion rates that the RDN is working toward.

Davis said the city could charge by “set outs” of garbage and organics bins. (Recycling set outs would be unlimited.) There would be a baseline chosen – Davis used 12 set outs per year as an example – and households sticking to that threshold would pay less and households exceeding it would pay more.

“It could be seen as more equitable, but it might not be popular with everyone, for example families with babies in diapers…” Davis said. “This is the most progressive way we can manage our waste collection and I think the best way that we can increase diversion in our community, but it certainly represents a big change.”

The implementation report also suggested the city should investigate picking up recycling once a week and picking up organic waste once every two weeks, “based on volumes of waste by stream since implementing Phase 1.”

Coun. Ian Thorpe congratulated staff on their work on the Sort Toss Roll program.

“I’m really pleased to see that not only are you apparently prepared for Phase 2, but you’re also already looking ahead for options an innovations in coming years that will help increase our diversion rate and serve our citizens better,” he said.

For more information, visit

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Eight displaced after fire last night in Nanaimo’s south end

Nanaimo Fire Rescue responds to fires on Strickland Street and old Jolly Miner pub

‘A really kind person:’ Parksville’s Nick Major remembered by instructor

Outpouring of support in the days following death of young man after infection from rabies

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Housing and opioid crises the real threats

Letter writer shocked that someone could blame vulnerable citizens for Nanaimo’s tarnished image

Nanaimo baseball stadium lighting project costs increasing by $350,000

Finance committee recommends LED lights at Serauxmen Stadium

Tribal Journeys go through Snaw-Naw-As, Snuneymuxw, Stz’uminus territory

Paddlers now in Ladysmith en route to final stop in Lummi, Wash.

Sailpast on Wheels Parade recognizes driving forces of Nanaimo bathtub race

Margaret Johnson and Bill McGuire honoured at 2019 event

World’s fastest bathtub racer to be determined this weekend in Nanaimo

Great International World Championship Bathtub Race caps full weekend of downtown events

Nanaimo-Opoly will let board game players deal Harbour City properties

Victoria’s Outset Media and Walmart Canada partner on local edition of popular game

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

Jim Chamberlin did troubleshooting for the Apollo program, which led to its success

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

Most Read