Halifax restaurant owners are concerned they will soon be paying more to haul their trash away.
Restaurateurs can spend $900 to $1,000 per month to get rid of their garbage. Now city staff wants to increase tipping fees by 36 per cent.
Mike Campbell, owner of The Carleton on Argyle Street, said he’s already been hit with tax increases, higher water rates and new inspection fees.
“It's like being pecked to death by ducks at the end of it, you know? It's just one more thing and it might not seem like a lot of money, but every dollar down here is really hard to get and it's just one more thing that makes it more difficult to do business. That's all there is to it,” he said.
Canadian Restaurant and Food Services Association vice-president Luc Erjavec said the increase means restaurants will be paying $4,000 more per year to haul garbage.
“Small businesses can just not afford another $4,000 hit in garbage fees. That's not the way we're going to create jobs and make this city grow and become more vibrant,” he said.
Erjavec said other jurisdictions in the Maritimes only pay about $300 to $400 per month.
He said one option is to allow restaurants to have their garbage hauled to other municipalities where tipping fees are lower. As it stands, Halifax bylaws prevent that kind of competition.
But the concern might be premature.
Halifax Mayor Mike Savage said he doesn't have an appetite for increasing restaurants’ fees and he doesn't think council does either.
He said he’s been meeting with restaurant owners to discuss a solution.