Nova Scotia

Halifax ponders cuts to green bin and blue bag pickup

The Halifax Regional Municipality axed weekly green cart pickup in 2020 to deal with the financial impact of the pandemic. Now it's considering collecting recyclables every two weeks, too.

Biweekly service would save municipality more than $1M but not all councillors are on board

Halifax may cut back on green bin pickup for the second straight summer. (CBC)

Weekly green bin pickup in the Halifax region could be cut for the second summer in a row as councillors debate cost-saving measures that could also impact how often recyclables are collected.

Organic waste was picked up every two weeks in 2020 as part of the municipality's cutbacks to deal with the impact of the pandemic.

HRM's director of transportation and public works proposed reinstating weekly summer pickup of green bins for the 2021-22 budget.

It would be part of a $90.5-million budget for the department. That is a $6.9-million increase over last June's budget.

"Essentially we've brought back the service levels pre-COVID," said Brad Anguish.

But regional councillors want to consider spending $1 million more on traffic calming projects and $2 million more on quicker snow clearing at Halifax Transit stops. Collection of organic waste every two weeks in the summer would save $850,000.

"These are the choices we get to make," said Coun. Shawn Cleary.

There was also a call to collect recyclables in blue bags every two weeks instead of every week. The move would save $400,000 in the next budget.

"Perhaps it could be a one-year pilot to see what kind of response there is from the general public," said Coun. David Hendsbee.

'It has to work for people'

Not all councillors are keen on the ideas.

"I don't think our residents can stomach that," said Coun. Trish Purdy.

Coun. Patty Cuttell said biweekly pickups would create significant cost savings, "but it has to work for people."

The majority of councillors agreed to consider both proposals. A final vote on the ideas will take place at the end of April.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pam Berman

Reporter

Pam Berman is CBC Nova Scotia's municipal affairs reporter. She's been a journalist for almost 35 years and has covered Halifax regional council since 1997. That includes four municipal elections, 19 budgets and countless meetings. Story ideas can be sent to pam.berman@cbc.ca

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