Holyrood trashes plan to collect bulk garbage
By Craig Westcott
Holyrood council has called off the scheduled bulk garbage collection for residents this month due to concerns about safety.
The bulk pick-up was to be carried out by a contractor hired by the Eastern Regional Services Board, which looks after garbage collection in the town. But when the board said it couldn’t change the date and council considered the potential for injuries or accidents occurring as residents carried old fridges and other furniture to the curb in snowy and icy conditions, it decided to call the whole thing off.
Public safety committee chairman, councillor Bruce King, complimented Mayor Gary Goobie for trying so hard to get the date for the collection changed.
“It makes absolutely no sense to have bulk garbage collection in Newfoundland in March,” said King. “The one thing I found even more hard to understand is that (the date) can’t be changed. Nobody could change it. If you look at the Prime Minister or the Premier, if they want something changed, they can change it. If you look across the border, if somebody sends something to the President of the United States, he can veto it and it’s gone. If a guy is on death row and about to be executed, within a minute the Governor can turn around and say, ‘Okay, this guy is going to live.’ Here in Newfoundland, we don’t have a soul on the Avalon Peninsula who can change the date for bulk garbage.”
Goobie acknowledged King’s frustration.
“I’m sure we’ve all (heard from) concerned residents wondering why Holyrood was slotted for bulk garbage (collection) in March,” Goobie allowed. “So, I spoke on two or three occasions with the chair of the Eastern Regional Services Board and the whole thing is more complicated than I first thought in how it all works.”
Goobie said the board hired a contractor last year who set up a schedule for bulk garbage pickups in “a multitude” of towns throughout the Avalon.
When he raised the problem with the board’s new chairman, Steve Tessier, Goobie said, he agreed that March is a bad month for bulk garbage collection and in turn raised it with the contractor to try to get it changed, but the agreement was locked in and couldn’t be changed because it would mess up the schedule for other towns. Goobie said Tessier committed that when the board renegotiates the contract next time, the schedule will be changed.
Goobie said he also spoke with Harbour Main MHA Helen Conway Ottenheimer, but it was too late in the process to do anything.
“But I was guaranteed by the chair that March next year will be eliminated for pickup,” he said.
The next pickup date, meanwhile, is set for August.
Goobie said the contractors who do the work appear to be stretched beyond the limit, and the board should look at a separate contract for bulk garbage cleanup instead of awarding it with the regular weekly collection.
Goobie said with banks of snow, narrow roads and icy driveways, it’s too dangerous in March for residents to lug out a mattress or microwave to the side of the road, and it’s dangerous too for the workers hired to collect it. It’s also dangerous for motorists who have to pull around garbage trucks parked in the street as the bulk items are being loaded, he added.
“It’s not a safe way of collecting bulk garbage,” said the mayor. “It’s dangerous for everybody.”
That’s why council decided to cancel the pickup, he said.
“I think we made the right decision in looking after public safety first,” said Goobie.