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Gord Turner: Wasting away in Castlegar

The City has finally figured out how it wants to bill us for taking away our garbage.

The City has finally figured out how it wants to bill us for taking away our garbage and paper-plastic products.

It has taken them a while to shift over to quarterly billing. I’ve had to phone several times, but finally I understand how and when I’m paying for the privilege of my litter removal and sewer/water usage.

So far, so good, but it took the City a while and several letters to us to sort it out. Some folks, however, are still not clear about when to pay.

Just wait until the City shifts over to billing us for water used rather than a simple yearly cost. Our water meters will be checked regularly, and we will be billed accordingly. What this means is that those of us who use little water will pay less than those who shower twice a day. Hopefully, the City won’t take long to figure out how to bill us — and that the billing will make sense. What bothers most of my neighbours and friends throughout the city is the garbage and recycling frequency. None of them likes “every second week” pick-up, and a few of them point to major problems.

Most people do not want to keep their garbage in their houses for two weeks. Even with the use of sturdy bags, people lament that their porch areas and basement nooks end up smelling. Those residents with babies have a bigger problem because of the need to dispose of diapers.

Leaving the garbage in the green portable bins outside is a disaster, too. The stink after two weeks attracts flies in the summer, dogs from up the street, and bears from the nearby woods. The best solution would be weekly garbage disposal, but apparently that won’t happen over the next several years.

In the meantime, we’ve been advised that a way to deal with waste food and even diaper results is to place it in bags and add it to your freezer for two weeks. Many people have an aversion to doing this and would rather put up with the smell than mix waste products with good foods.

As well, dealing with the portable green garbage bins in the winter can be a major hassle for seniors. Often seniors have to drag their garbage bins from their at-house location through snow banks before getting them to the streets. Then when the bins are emptied, seniors leave the bins somewhere along the driveway not wishing to haul them over the snow. Often, these green bins simply become eyesores all winter long.

To be fair, most homeowners I’ve talked to are comfortable with recycling their paper and plastic containers every two weeks. Usually these items don’t smell and only take up space. The two blue containers for separation seem to work well enough.

Some of my neighbours have learned that if they have extra recycling materials in any given time period, they can take them down to the Zion Trucking recycling depot on 6th Avenue. Definitely, that is the place to take unwanted glass products such as U.S. beer bottles, fruit jars, and related glass paraphernalia.

If you miss the waste pickup day or the recycling week, you can always haul the piled-up items to the landfill. That facility has many extra-large recycling bins and a special one for glass. If you need to get rid of a bag of smelly garbage, though, it will cost you a minimum of $2.50 for one bag.

Paying attention to your bi-weekly waste and recycling routines will save you these extra fees, and anyway, you are already paying quarterly charges for these services.

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