New garbage bylaw proposed in Neepawa


By: Kate Jackman-Atkinson

Over the next few weeks, Neepawa residents and business owners will have the chance to voice their thoughts regarding proposed changes to the Town of Neepawa bylaw covering the pick up of garbage and recycling.

The changes were proposed to cover a funding deficit for the service, which was being made up through general taxation.

The bylaw had its first reading last week and a public hearing, as well as a second and third reading, have been scheduled for March 6 at 7 p.m. at the Neepawa council chambers.

According to the unaudited 2012 financial statements, the Town lost $167,337 on its garbage and recycling collection service. Last year, they spent just over $406,603 collecting and disposing garbage and recycling, including both the costs for the contractor to collect the garbage ($176,551) and the fees and levies charged to the Town by Evergreen Environmental Technologies for the disposal of garbage and handling of recyclables ($230,052).

They only collected $239,225 in revenue, including provincial product stewardship grants of $99,075 and money paid by residents for the service under the current bylaw ($140,150). The proposed bylaw aims to operate the service on a cost recovery basis.

Town of Neepawa mayor Ken Waddell explained that since 2003, when the Town switched from their old landfill to Evergreen Environmental Technologies, the costs for the service have been rising.  Most residents hauled their own garbage to the old landfill, meaning that there was very little garbage pick up. Additionally, they didn’t used to have to pay tipping fees at Evergreen. He added that on average over the last 10 years, the Town has lost about $810,000 on garbage collection, or $81,000 per year.

The Town pays for the collection and disposal of garbage by the tonne and under the new bylaw, the largest producers of waste will pay the most. Residential property owners will experience little in the way of change but some businesses will see a dramatic increase in their cost for garbage collection.

In developing the new bylaw, Town CAO Richard Beachey explained “a lot was considered” but the end goals were to make the service self-supporting and to do it in a fair manner.

Under the new bylaw, residential garbage pick up will be limited to two bags per week.  If a resident needs to dispose of more waste, they can purchase additional bag tags. Beachey said that they are still calculating a final cost for the bag tags but they will be somewhere in the range of $3. The Town will continue to collect compost for six weeks in the spring and six weeks in the fall.

Under the old bylaw, commercial properties paid between $150 and $650 per year for garbage collection.  Under the proposed bylaw, businesses pay a minimum of $200 per year but businesses that have one large bin and need weekly pick up, will be paying $6,000 a year for the service.

Under the proposed bylaw, businesses have been divided into classes and Beachey says that the rates were calculated based on the amount of waste picked up in the past. He added that they are looking for feedback from the public and businesses who don’t agree with their rate can talk to the Town.

The town’s largest producer of waste, HyLife Foods, including the processing plant, R3 Innovations waste water treatment plant and Freezer Co, will be exempt from the special services plan. If the new bylaw passes, they will be collecting and hauling their own garbage and recycling to Evergreen and will be billed for the tipping fees.

Council is also hoping that the new bylaw will encourage residents to do more recycling. While the Town pays $75 for every tonne of garbage taken to Evergreen, they don’t pay a tipping fee for recycling.  In fact, the Town receives a provincial grant of $213 per tonne of recycling taken to Evergreen, which means that each tonne of waste that is recycled instead of put in the landfill represents $288 for the Town. However, the Town of Neepawa does pay a percentage of the costs incurred by Evergreen for the handling of garbage and recycling. Beachey explains, “Reducing waste is something we want to encourage”.

The proposed bylaw will mean big changes for some property owners and Beachey says, “We want to encourage as much debate as possible… We want feedback from people, particularly the business sector, but also any resident.”

Anyone with comments about the proposed bylaw can contact the Town office before March 6 or attend the public meeting on March 6.