Move to automated garbage collection underway with new contract

Staff ~ The Southwest Booster
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City of Swift Current

Swift Current’s city council has taken another step towards implementing the new automated garbage collection service.

On Monday council members approved the purchase of 5,400 new carts needed, at a cost of $379, 809.90 plus tax.  The carts are expected to be available by Sept. 15, when the city officially switches systems.

“These are fairly large size bins,” Mayor Jerrod Schafer said during Monday’s meeting.  “The biggest change that our residents are going to have to get used to is the fact that if it’s not in the bin, it’s not going to be getting picked up anymore.”

The city’s 2014 capital budget set aside $400,000 to pay for the new carts, but residents are going to see some an increase in their utility bill to help with the purchase.  The increase is expected to last for around five years.

“It will be a small increase to the amount that residents pay for every month on their utility bills,” said Tim Marcus, the city’s deputy chief administrative officer and chief financial officer.  “Currently it’s $8, so it will be an increase to that.”

Swift Current is one of the few remaining municipalities still using a manual collection system.    Both city councillors and the mayor said they were happy to finally see the change, which they hope will provide a quicker and cleaner form of waste disposal.

“I think it’s something that’s maybe long overdue in our community,” Coun. Gord Budd said.  “I think it is really going to clean up the back alleys and look much better on the front streets and so.  I just think it’s going to be a lot better system than we’ve got right now.”

“Refuse carts will avoid problems with animals, rain water, loose garbage bags, hidden collection spots and provide a much neater look to our community,” said Marcus during Monday’s council meeting.  “There are also benefits for the collection contractor, as it require less resources then the current system and reduces workplace injuries.”

Beside the new carts, the city will also receive an additional 400 stored carts, 200 each for replacement and growth respectively.  The city will also receive parts for repairs.  A new garbage truck will be needed to lift the new carts, but that cost will have to be covered by the collection contractor.

The new truck will be a bit bigger than the city’s current truck, which will cause changes to pickup routes and locations.

“There are a few spots where people who currently have back lane (pickup) will have to switch to curbside,” Marcus said.  “But for 90 per cent of the people, if they get back alley pickup today, they’ll get back alley pickup in the future.”

Three companies submitted bids for the contract, with the city choosing IPL Inc., a Quebec based company.  Marcus said the proposals were evaluated on cart specifications, deployment service, past performance and warranty.

To help the city deal with the new changes, there will be five open houses in the city, one for each collection area.  The dates and locations will be announced later.

Organizations: IPL Inc.

Geographic location: Swift Current

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