Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis wants to delay the city’s mandatory use of hard-sided garbage cans.

A bylaw was to come into effect March 1. Residents who refused to use hard-sided garbage cans with lids would see their trash bags left on the curb.

The change is meant to help stop the growing population of skunks and other vermin in the city. The regulation was passed in March 2012 but implementation wasn’t mean to happen until March 2013.

Francis told CBC on Friday that the city hasn't communicated the changes properly.

“Council said we should spend the year communicating and all we're doing is delaying the implementation,” Francis said.

People can use round, traditional cans, as long as they have lids and are under a certain weight. If residents choose oversized cans with wheels, they must meet a different set of specifications.

Francis said he doesn’t think the public is aware the change is coming. He is open to suggestions for an alternate roll-out date.

Anne-Marie Albidone, the environmental services manager for the city, said the change in policy is meant to make life difficult for vermin, such as skunks.

"When the garbage is placed in a garbage bag, it's easily accessible because these animals can just rip them open and have their feast," she said. "So by putting them in a hard-sided containers, it will help minimize the food source that is available to them and, as a result, it will help minimize the increases that we may otherwise see in their population. "

The new bylaw will also apply to garbage left anywhere outside your house.

"Several residents already are using pails and this will be a non-issue for them. Other residents may not use pails and may have concerns with that. So we'll do our best to work with those residents to get most people as we can under compliance without having to go through our by-law enforcement," Albidone said.

Council approved the new rules last year while debating how to curb the city's skunk population.

In simple terms, residents can use a garbage pail, round, square, metal or plastic..

"But if people prefer the larger pails, the ones with wheels on them, the oversized rollout carts … they will definitely be overweight in terms of picking it up and emptying it by hand," Albidone said. "So they have to have the proper lifting mechanisms on them so they can hook up to our trucks.

"The weight we're looking for people to be mindful of is 45 pounds."

Oversized carts carts must have:

  • A bar 18 inches from the ground.
  • An upper attachment 33 inches from the ground.
  • The bar and the upper attachment in good condition.

The City of Windsor has published this video on Youtube to explain the requirements:

The city has not approved any funding to assist residents in the purchase of new cans.

In the past, collectors would occasionally empty non-compatible bins by hand by picking them up or pulling bags out.

However, due to needle stick injuries, cuts from sharp objects or other dangers, collectors are no longer allowed to reach into oversized pails or carts to remove bags.