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Oct 16,2009 Tri City News

Grant Granger - The Tri-City News

Published: October 16, 2009 6:00 AM
Updated: October 16, 2009 6:43 AM

Along with the introduction of biweekly garbage pickup, Port Coquitlam property owners will see changes to their trash fees when they open up their utility bills next year.

Just what those changes will be, however, has yet to be determined.

PoCo will be going to a "pay as you throw" (PAYT) rate structure. Currently, residents of single-family homes who have the standard 240-litre garbage, recycling and green waste bins pay $176 annually for collection.

Under the new system, which begins in January, those who continue to use those bins won't see much of a change to their bill, the city says. But those who decide they need smaller, larger or additional carts will pay accordingly.

A resident who discovers he needs a larger or additional bin to store garbage for two weeks will pay more. A resident who decides to downsize to a 120-litre cart will pay less.

The final numbers haven't been decided and city staff are still working on the details of a new rate structure to take to council for approval.

But Igor Zahynacz, the city's director of engineering and operations, said he doesn't expect large numbers of residents will face a fee for larger or more trash cans.

The city tested both kitchen waste pickup which begins throughout PoCo on Nov. 2 and biweekly pickup during a recent trial in Harbourview Estates. While 33% of those surveyed in the pilot area said they would consider getting larger carts, only 2% required them, he said.

"In actuality, the experience of the users is they don't need as many larger carts," Zahynacz said.

He also noted a recent Metro Vancouver analysis of Port Coquitlam's garbage showed 40% of what's currently being dumped in landfills can either be put in the compost or in the green waste bins.

"There's still a lot of material in the garbage stream that can be diverted," said Zahynacz.

He said the hope is most residents are likely to need larger green waste and recycling containers to manage their waste over two weeks, and the city is looking at charging only a $10 or $20 a year fee for those, much less than the fee expected for additional or larger garbage carts.

Still, Coun. Brad West, who voted against the biweekly collection at Tuesday's council meeting, said the rate structure should have been worked out before the switch was voted on.

"The reality for most people at the end of the day is they'll be paying more for half the service they used to get," said West. "At this point, it's all academic theory but reality can be different."

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