Winnipeg city Coun. Ross Eadie wants to trash the city's proposed curbside compost collection.

Eadie presented a motion to city council Wednesday to suspend plans and cancel public consultations on organic waste pick up.

The proposal as it stands, Eadie said, would create a burden for low-income Winnipeggers.

"It's basically do you want to pay $55 to $100 on your water bill? There is no, 'How do we pay for this?' option in what they were proposing to do," he said.

Ross Eadie

Councillor Ross Eadie presented a motion Wednesday calling for the city to suspend consultations on compost collection.

Eadie called curbside composting "well-meaning" and is not calling for the city to do away with the idea completely.

Instead, his motion called for an "immediate comprehensive review" of Winnipeg's existing garbage and recycling program, including an analysis of its "failures to meet promised levels of service" and "costed steps" to improve those services. 

The motion also calls for a city-wide program to reduce organic waste from commercial sources such as restaurants and grocery stores and improve the existing program of subsidized organic bins for Winnipeggers.

"One of the things we need to be very cognizant of is people on low-income. If you put to much burden on some of these older people they could end up homeless because they can't afford to pay all the different fees that we're throwing on top of them."

Coun. Jeff Browaty stood in support of Eadie's call Winnipeggers are "taxed to death as it is." Coun. Scott Gillingham added he's had more calls to date from people in his ward "vehemently against" organic waste pick up than calls on this year's city budget. 

Winnipeg behind other cities on compost pick up

Jennifer Feschuk of the Green Action Centre appealed to city council to move ahead on public consultations and adopt a residential pick up program. Feschuk noted Brandon has had curbside composting since 2010 and Halifax introduced its program in the 1990s.

"We have to get there," she said, adding that the Brady Road Landfill is the second largest greenhouse gas emitter in Manitoba.

"Our statistics are showing that only 23 per cent of residents in the city are backyard composting... That means that 77 per cent of city residents have no option but to throw their organics in the garbage," Feschuk said.

The Green Action Centre has collected 530 signatures on its petition pushing for organic waste pick up, Feschuk said.

Molly McCracken with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives also urged council to oppose Eadie's motion, underlining that without a more concerted effort to divert waste Winnipeg will continue to contribute to climate change.

McCracken added residential waste collection contracts are up next year and she wants to see organic waste collection built in before new contracts are signed. 

Council voted to defer Eadie's motion to the environment committee.