Bruce McInnis has had no complaint with city garbage pickup service since he moved to his home on the 600 block of Brechin Road nearly 60 years ago.
That was until mid December when the city informed McInnis and his neighbours it wants them to roll their garbage and recycling bins to a central pickup point instead of in front their homes.
McInnis and his neighbours’ homes all have Brechin Road addresses, but are actually accessed on a narrow lane that parallels Brechin and with the rollout of new automated garbage trucks, the city is no longer willing to drive the trucks down the lane to collect waste.
“The city has has made a decision that they’re not coming into the alley because backing out of the lane is a safety hazard (for) their new truck,” McInnis said.
He said the new garbage trucks had already made several trips into the lane to pick up trash bins and he argues asking the residents to pull their bins to a central pickup point is in contravention of the city’s bylaw, which requires residents to place their trash and recycling bins at the entrances to their properties.
The problem for the garbage trucks is they can’t turn around in the lane and must back out onto Brechin Road, a hazardous manoeuvre because the street is often busy with traffic coming from B.C. Ferries Departure Bay terminal.
“Their position is they’re going to park a truck up there and they want a mass collection area at the end of the lane,” McInnis said. “Our position is, no, according to law they have no legal authority to do that. We have legal authority to say, no, you’re coming to the front of our dwelling. Whether it’s by truck or by foot, we don’t care.”
McInnis measured out the minimum and maximum distances he and his neighbours would have to pull their bins to the proposed location of the central collection point. The maximum distance for his neighbour farthest from the collection point is 60 metres. The resident nearest the collection point would have to move bins 12 metres, he said.
Bill Sims, city director of engineering and public works, said the issue for the city comes down to a matter of traffic safety.
“We can’t have a garbage truck backing up out of a laneway, in this case onto a provincial highway or a busy road anyhow,” Sims said. “We can stop on the road with lights flashing and traffic is compelled to go around, but we simply cannot have a truck backing out.”
The other issue is with operational clearances required by the new automated garbage trucks.
“We need an additional four feet on the side of the vehicle to be able to drop the claw and pick up the bins, so it’s a matter of efficiency and, predominantly, safety,” Sims said.
Sims went on to say there will likely be more residences that find themselves under similar circumstances as the second phase of automated waste collection truck service spreads throughout the city.
“In other cases, where this first phase has happened, we generally just drop off a letter to the residence and we get pretty good co-operation,” he said.