British Columbia

What to do about doggy doo-doo? Vancouver councillor has an idea

Vancouver dog owners could see more options for disposing of Fido's feces as city council considers a motion to expand dog waste collection services in the city. 

Motion from Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung aims to make disposing dog waste easier for owners, greener for city

Vancouver councillor calls for more doggy waste collection options. (CBC)

Vancouver dog owners could see more options for disposing of Fido's feces as city council considers a motion to expand dog waste collection services in the city. 

There are currently six public parks equipped with red dog waste collection carts. They were installed when the city's dog waste collection pilot project started in 2016 with a goal of diverting dog waste from the landfill. 

Aside from these bins, the only other option for dog owners to dispose of doo-doo bags is in garbage cans or to flush the waste — without the bag — down the toilet. 

And poop is a growing problem, according to the city. Vancouver's urban dog population is growing. More than 350,000 dogs do their business in Metro Vancouver every day, the city estimates. Up to 56,000 dogs in Vancouver alone. 

The motion submitted by Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung is calling for expanded dog waste collection services in Vancouver. The goal is to keep the city clean and green and to ensure more doggie doo-doo bags stay out of the landfill, where they emit methane.

"As our dog population is growing in the city, it struck me that we really need to be moving a little bit more aggressively in terms of the pace of being able to expand that program," Kirby-Yung said.

"If we only have red bins in six locations, it doesn't take a lot of math to figure out that there's an awful lot of waste that's going into the landfill and creating methane."

More red bins

Kirby-Yung is asking council to direct city staff to look into costs and barriers to expanding dog waste collection services throughout the city, including more red bins.

She is asking that this information be brought back to council in time to consider including the changes in the 2020 operating budget.

City of Vancouver Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung wants to see more red bins, such as these in North Vancouver, around the city for dog owners to dispose of their pet's waste. (City of North Vancouver)

North Vancouver has 30 red bins around the city specifically for dog waste. They're emptied every week, and the contents are taken to the wastewater treatment plant for disposal.

Last year, almost 50,000 litres of dog waste was diverted from its landfill. 

Kirby-Yung says she has heard from constituents who wonder why there aren't more red bins around Vancouver and in their neighbourhoods. 

"We often spend a lot of time thinking about many of the other big challenges that we have in the city, like affordability," she said.

"But these are also really important to people's quality of life, for them being able to enjoy public spaces around the city."

The motion will be heard at the next city council meeting on May 14. 

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