Ottawa

Waste Management pays steep penalty over missed pickups

Waste Management has been penalized more than $200,000 for failing to live up to its garbage collection contract in Ottawa's west end, city councillors on the environment committee heard Tuesday.

Company has already paid $213K for failing to live up to collection contract

Curbside waste sits awaiting collection in front of a home on Chimo Drive in Kanata in July. (Giacomo Panico/CBC)

Waste Management has been penalized more than $200,000 for failing to live up to its garbage collection contract in Ottawa's west end, city councillors on the environment committee heard Tuesday.

Residents of Kanata, Stittsville, West Carleton and Bay ward have been plagued with spotty trash pickup since April.

The company had blamed a fire that destroyed several of its trucks, but is now reporting curbside collection is back on track.

"I am happy to report that as of [Sunday], we are completely caught up and are no longer experiencing collection delays," wrote area vice-president Aaron Johnson in a letter to Ottawa city councillors.

Employees from across Canada pitching in

Johnson said Waste Management employees from Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and across Ontario have pitched in to help.

Johnson was unable to attend Tuesday's committee meeting in person, but has offered to meet Wednesday with the councillors whose wards have been affected.

He thanked residents for their patience, and also acknowledged city crews and Miller Waste Systems, the company that will take over the west-end collection contract in June, for helping deal with the backlog.

City to bill company for extra costs

On Tuesday, councillors learned the city has collected $213,000 from Waste Management so far for instances when it has not fulfilled its contract, which began in 2012.

The city sent a formal letter of non-compliance to Waste Management in June.

In recent weeks, city crews have been picking up garbage and recycling on Waste Management routes, and will continue to pitch in as needed over the coming weeks. The city intends to charge Waste Management for those extra costs, meaning the company's final bill could be even larger.

Still, the general consensus at city hall is that Waste Management had been a solid partner until this past spring.

"We're not dealing with a negligent company here, we're dealing with a company that has had a great relationship with the City of Ottawa," said Coun. Scott Moffatt, who noted Waste Management is not denying any of the problems and is now trying to fix them.

Coun. Allan Hubley, who represents the affected ward of Kanata South, wasn't so forgiving.

"We need to take a dive into what happened here," Hubley said.

On Monday, Waste Management assured the city that a fire that damaged a garbage truck at Carleton University would not further affect residential pickup.

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