A controversial proposal to introduce wheeled trash carts in parts of Winnipeg has failed to pass a council vote.
A motion to hear the proposal was blocked during a meeting on Wednesday morning by councillors who opposed it. Support from 11 councillors — two-thirds of council — was required to add the matter to the official agenda for debate and vote.
Only 10 councillors agreed to include it.
Immediately following that, Mayor Sam Katz called for a special meeting of council for next week to put the trash cart proposal up for formal debate. The date for that meeting has yet to be set.
Earlier in the day, members of the executive policy committee (EPC) voted unanimously in support of outfitting 42,500 homes in the northwest section with the modern trash carts.
Typically, matters supported by EPC are rubber-stamped by council. But the trash cart plan has created a big rift among councillors.
The carts were to have replaced traditional garbage cans and be emptied by one person operating a truck designed to lift and dump them.
The proposal called for the city to offer garbage giant BFI Canada a $13.3-million residential garbage-collection contract to service the new carts.
Several councillors have been critical of the city's plans, which only surfaced last week and didn't have enough time to be included on the regular agenda for Wednesday's meeting. They say there wasn't enough public consultation and too much business would be ceded to BFI.
The Toronto-based company currently holds five of seven residential garbage contracts in the city.
However, when the proposal does go to an official debate next week it will likely be approved.
At least one councillor who voted to block the motion to add the item to the agenda on Wednesday said he did so out of principal for the democratic process, not opposition to the issue.
Coun. John Orlikow said he disapproved of the attempt to rush the matter through council at the last minute but he supports the idea of the carts.
"If it's just going to be this rammed-through method that we've been going through, I have to stand up and say no more of this. That process is so undemocratic," he said. "It's revolting for me. I can't handle it."
If the plan is approved next week, the city will spend an estimated $2 million to outfit the 42,500 homes with one cart each.
If the project works well in northwest Winnipeg, it will likely be extended to other parts of the city in the future, city officials have said.