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New garbage totes hit doorsteps

Steven Hill [email protected] All this week, Carney's Waste Systems was dropping items off at residents' doorsteps rather than picking them up.

Steven Hill

[email protected]

All this week, Carney's Waste Systems was dropping items off at residents' doorsteps rather than picking them up.The gifts - new wheeled garbage totes - are part of a new collection system being implemented by Carney's, according to marketing and sales manager John French.

"We started delivering the totes on Monday morning," he said. "In the end, we will distribute 5,000 totes to residents."In addition to the totes, Carney's has also purchased a new truck, which is able to lift and dump the contents of the totes without human aid.

French said the original plan was to have the new garbage cans all delivered by Friday (Feb. 10), but the task has proved to be taking longer than expected.

"At this point I don't know when we are going to be finishing this up," he said. "It is going a little slower than expected."Using a large trailer loaded with the new totes, a crew of six Carney's employees have been going street by street, unloading and setting up the totes.

Those residents who wanted their old cans taken away, had to put red marks on their old cans, but French said not all the marked cans got hauled away.

"Some marked garbage cans were overlooked," he said. "Anyone who was missed can take their cans to the landfill and they will be accepted for free during the next couple of weeks."

French said people will need to get used to using the new totes, and the changes from the old system.

"Do not overfill it," he warned. "If they have more garbage than fits in the tote, they need to take it themselves to the landfill or hold onto it until the next week. The truck will not pick up an overfull can."

Also, French said the old "Tag a Bag" system for extra garbage is no longer functioning.

"Under the old system, anyone could put out two 77-litre cans, and anything over that, they would pay an extra fee," he said. "That extra fee in the past could be paid by buying a book of 'Tag a Bag' stickers from the DOS and putting a sticker on your extra garbage for pickup.

"This new system renders the Tag a Bag system obsolete," he said. "But, we are looking into another system with the DOS for use with the new totes."

The new garbage cans also come with some degree of controversy.

Local environmentalists have complained that the new totes are not bear-proof, and that bear-proof upgrades costing more than $100 are unfair to low-income families.

Those sentiments were echoed this week, when bear biologist Wayne McCrory presented DOS council with a Bear Hazard Assessment Plan, which called criticized the new totes and said bear-proof upgrades had, in his "professional" opinion, "chronic latch problems" and were too expensive for low-income families. (see related story this page).

"The chronic latch problems, from what I understand, are mostly human related," French said. "People forget or latch it improperly. In our opinion, and from a mechanical perspective, the failure rate is very low.

"We recognize that some low-income families may have issues with the cost of a bear-proof bin, and we have searched far and wide to find a system that is as inexpensive as possible. Parts and labour costs add up," he added.

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