The company tasked with picking up Winnipeggers' garbage has until Sunday evening to catch up on collection delays that have frustrated many residents so far this month.
The City of Winnipeg has ordered Emterra to have all garbage and recycling pickup caught up by 6 p.m. CT on Sunday.
Emterra, which holds the city's garbage collection contract, has been the subject of more than 5,400 calls of "service deficiencies from residents since the revamped citywide collection system began Oct. 1, with many saying their garbage pickup has been days behind schedule.
Darryl Drohomerski, the city's manager of solid waste management, said the deadline is reasonable, given that Emterra had the month of August to adjust to the new system.
Drohomerski warned the company will face more penalties if it does not get all the garbage and recycling picked up by Sunday evening.
"It's a financial clause; it's in the contract. All the bidders knew that going into the work," he told reporters on Thursday.
"Basically it's a performance measure, so they have to perform adequately, and if they don't, there's is a financial penalty for it."
Drohomerski said such penalties could include hiring another company to help pick up garbage and charging Emterra for the work.
"That's a possibility. That's one of the possibilities, yep," he said.
"If it's not done, we'll take measures to be able to get it all collected as fast as we can next week and keep on scheduled collection dates."
Trail of troubles
Emterra was fined in September for similar problems in neighbourhoods that started the new garbage collection system before Oct 1, Drohomerski noted.
He said the new garbage collection system still costs less than the old system, but he would not say by how much.
Emterra, formerly known as International Paper Industries, has faced criticism in other parts of the country, too.
In 2008, a Coquitlam B.C. city councillor accused the company of failing to stick to collection schedules, resulting in garbage being left on curbsides for days .
Coun. Richard Stewart, blamed the company's lax performance for putting bears at risk. Hungry bears were drawn into town where they were shot by police officers.
Stewart, along with fellow councillor and former mayor Lou Sekora, told CBC News at the time that Coquitlam city hall was being flooded with complaints about the poor garbage pickup.
Port Moody, B.C., also had similar garbage pickup problems with IPI and the city council decided not to renew its contract with the company, turning the work over to city employees instead.