Beaconsfield garbage truck cameras an invasion of privacy, residents say

A West Island community's tactics for reducing garbage in landfills have some residents up in arms about privacy.

Mayor Georges Bourelle says cameras would help make garbage pickup more efficient

Beaconsfield's new trash policy would measure the amount of garbage residents put out for collection. (CBC)

A West Island community's tactics for reducing garbage in landfills have some residents up in arms about privacy.

Beaconsfield's new garbage-pickup plan involves charging residents based on the volume of garbage they produce. 

On top of electronically counting how often residents put their garbage bins out on the side of the road, the high-tech system will also include garbage trucks with cameras on them.

Beaconsfield Mayor Georges Bourelle said the cameras will help make garbage collection more efficient. (CBC)

Some residents are not very comfortable with the idea of their trash being caught on camera.

"It's an invasion of privacy. You can't go through someone's garbage unless you have a warrant," Beaconsfield resident Wesley Prillo told CBC News.

"I'm not quite comfortable with the idea, i don't think it's an important part of the service," Rhonda Massad said. "Are we giving up our fundamental rights for efficiency?"

But at Monday's city council meeting, Beaconsfield Mayor Georges Bourelle argued that using cameras is a matter of efficiency.

New garbage trucks, he pointed out, don't have a second worker looking for items that don't belong in a landfill.

The camera would connect to a screen inside the truck cabin so the driver could see what kind of things people are throwing out.

"Nothing's changed. All we're doing now is using a camera to basically do the same work, and doing it more economically," Bourelle said.

He said the driver could signal things that don't belong in the bin by snapping a photo and sending it to the city.

The city could then send the resident a letter asking them not to throw that item out in the trash again.

Bourelle said that once people put their garbage out on the curb, it becomes the city's property — so, he said, residents should not put anything in there they don't want others to see. 


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