Regional District of Nanaimo residents will follow their City of Nanaimo counterparts with automated waste collection.
The RDN board has directed staff to initiate a request for proposals for delivery of automated collection of garbage, recycling, organics and yard waste with carts of varying sizes. City residents are already offered automated waste collection service through the municipality.
During an October board meeting presentation, Larry Gardner, RDN manager of solid waste services, said a change is needed because the current contract with Waste Connections of Canada expires March 2020, and an RFP needs to be put in place now, as equipment procurement takes about a year. There was public consultation and the automated system is similar to the city’s, he said.
According to RDN staff, there are three options. Continuing the current system in which waste (garbage, recyclables and food scraps) are placed in containers that are emptied manually; a “fully automated system” utilizing a mechanical arm that empties bins with garbage, recyclables and organics; or the automated system which would collect yard waste in addition to other waste.
“If we stick with the existing manual system we will see a fairly significant increase relative to our existing utility rate and it’s because we’re at the end of the service that we contracted 10 years ago … whether it’s our existing contractor or a new contractor, they will have to apply new equipment,” said Gardner. “The cost of new equipment going forward is much more. We’re going to see a fairly significant bump even if we sit with the manual system.”
Current manual collection costs $145 annually and according to a staff report, continuing would cost an estimated $170 a year, with a default 100-litre cart. Automated collection without a yard waste option would cost $200. Automated collection with yard waste and an 80-litre yard waste cart would cost $215 annually, while the same service with a 120-litre cart is estimated at $245 annually.
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Gardner said the staff recommendation is automated delivery with the option for yard waste.
“Definitely there’s some advantages in particular with respect to safety, so the staff recommendation is to provide an automated system with a yard and garden waste option,” said Gardner. “It does give us the ability to provide some variable rates for the size of bin … it does give us the option to try to tailor the service to the individuals’ needs and we’re proposing it be a 10-year contract that would continue to 2030.”
When asked how comfortable he was that the rates wouldn’t deviate, Gardner said he was quite confident.
“It’s always a challenge to predict the future … we did look at many of the other jurisdictions within B.C. and looked at their cost and what we’re putting forward is in line with what others’ costs are, so on that basis I can be very confident, but we do see changes … to the best of our ability they’re accurate,” said Gardner.
RDN directors Bill Veenhof (Area H), Joe Stanhope (Area G), Julian Fell (Area F) and Kirk Oates (Parksville) voted against the amended automated garbage collection motion.
Howard Houle (Area B), Marc Lefebvre (Parksville), Bob Colclough (Lantzville), Maureen Young (Area C), Bob Rogers (Nanoose) and Alec McPherson (Area A) voted in favour.
Staff have been directed to report back to the board with results of the RFP. The new contract would begin in April 2020.