PENTICTON - The Okanagan-Similkameen Regional District will be testing the public appetite for a cart-based garbage pickup service.
Solid waste management coordinator Cameron Baughen said the City of Penticton moved ahead with a residential cart program last year, and the regional district is taking a look at implementing a similar service in other regional district member communities and the rural areas.
In a report prepared for the Environment and Infrastructure Committee, Baughen notes the present regional district curbside contract expires June 30, 2018.
The regional district has been working with the other municipalities to get ready for a request for proposals this spring that will include cost estimates to implement a cart program.
Baughen said they will identify what services the contractors will be expected to provide and outline how to collect the waste, then compare prices between what is currently provided with costs for the new service He noted residents currently put their own bag or cart out, whereas under the new service a cart would be supplied by the regional district.
“We’re not sure yet what the cost differential will be. We’ll get the net costs from the contractors and compare,” he said.
The request for proposals will also seek comment from proponents on the use of alternative fuels such as natural gas in order to lower carbon emissions from traditional gas or diesel engines.
Baughen said increased savings could be derived from truck operators being able to make an increased number of pickups per shift under the cart system. There is also the potential for reduced workplace related injuries.
“The system uses a robotic arm to lift the carts as opposed to the operator physically lifting the bin,” he said.
Proper placement of the bins at curbside is also essential for the service to work properly. If a cart system were implemented, the contractor would be required to install cameras on the trucks to monitor waste for hazardous or banned materials as it is dumped into the truck.
Public consultation forums are expected to take place this spring in regional district communities.
Baughen says the intention is to give the successful proponent a year to prepare and implement their service.
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