Manitoba

Compost pickup fees in the works, says Winnipeg city councillor

The City of Winnipeg's plans to expand its curbside recycling pickup program to include organic waste could mean a bump in fees too large for some residents, says Coun. Russ Wyatt.

Residents could face annual fees of $55 to $100, says Russ Wyatt

Winnipeg city councillors were briefed on the proposed curbside compost pickup program, which comes with a range of fees for residents, says Transcona Coun. Russ Wyatt. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

The City of Winnipeg's plans to expand its curbside recycling pickup program to include organic waste could mean a bump in fees too large for some residents, says Coun. Russ Wyatt.

"Folks have only so much money to pay in terms of taxes," Wyatt said. "Right now, for example, we have the highest water and sewer rates of any major city in Canada."

The Transcona councillor says he and other council members were given a behind-closed-doors briefing about the compost collection service on Thursday, with three fee options being offered to residents:

  • Vegetable and fruit scraps only, which would add $55-65 a year to water bills.
  • All food waste, an option that would cost $60-70.
  • A food waste plus pet waste option that would cost $100.

The fees would be in addition to the $56 in garbage and recycling pickup fees that already charged annually.

Wyatt noted that residents won't be able to opt out — residents who already compost at home will still have to pay an organic waste pickup fee, he said.

City costs not revealed

Wyatt added that city staff would not say how much it would cost to add the facilities, vehicles and carts needed for the new organic waste pickup program.

"In the meeting, they refused to give us those costs. Even though they supplied them in 2011, they refused. So why is the administration being muzzled, number one, and who's muzzling them?" he said.

"Secondly, how can they tell you what it's going to cost on your bill if they don't know the cost to build the services in the first place?"

Wyatt said the earlier estimates indicate that setting up the required facilities at the Brady Road landfill would cost between $40 million and $65 million, while new carts would cost $10 million to $12 million. There would be a number of other expenses connected as well, he added.

There are still problems with Winnipeg's current garbage and recycling collection service that should be fixed before any new programs come on board, Wyatt argued.

A new contract for garbage and recycling collection services is looming, and any waste company that's interested in bidding on that contract would have to buy new trucks or upgrade existing units to handle organic waste, he said.

Councillors were told at Thursday's meeting that public consultations will take place before a decision is made, Wyatt said.

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