Advisory committee talks proposed solid waste pickup changes

By Meg Olson

The Whatcom County Health Department (WCHD) and the Point Roberts Community Advisory Committee (PRCAC) are moving ahead with educating the public about proposed changes to the solid waste system.

“This is for the people that for the last two years haven’t been following these meetings or the All Point Bulletin coverage,” said WCHD representative Jeff Hegedus at the March 14 PRCAC meeting.

Hegedus presented committee members with a letter and FAQ sheet that will be sent to the approximately 2,300 property owners who will need to pay for mandatory garbage collection if proposed changes are approved. The information will also be added to the solid waste division website which already features a section specifically addressing Point Roberts solid waste issues.

Under the proposal, the current system of allowing property owners to apply for an exemption from curbside pickup will be repealed. All developed properties, as determined by which ones have a septic permit, will need to pay for monthly pickup of garbage and recycling.

PRCAC members agreed to hold a town hall meeting on Saturday, April 14 to answer further questions the public has before proposed changes go before county council later that month for a public hearing and possible approval. If they are approved, Hegedus said, CanDo Recycling and Disposal Services will apply to the state for a new tariff. The target date for rollout of universal collection is January 2019.

  1. I like the duel system we have now. You haul user pay and/or Curbside pick up works best for our diverse community. If a for profit company can’t do it well and clean up their mess, then we could have a community based system that can have more options. Considering the environmental cost, surely there is a better solution then hauling our waste all the way to Portland Oregon. We could have a free exchange store and free recycling. We could have a chipper for yard waste and a compost system for free garden soil. Cortes, Gabriola & Lopez island communities our size do this very well. We could contract out a large appliance and couch pick up once a year. Whatcom county could put recycling containers at all the parks and at the community centre. These things would help minimize illegal dumping. My reading about other juristrictions experience, is mandatory curb side does not have much impact on illegal dumping. Positive solutions work better. The extra 390,800 the county is asking us to pay to increase infrastructure for extra curbside that most of us can’t use, does not service the needs we requested in meetings and surveys. But if the county came up with an improved detailed comprehensive recycling plan with the specific improvements we asked for in the community engagements, I would be happy to contribute my share and yearly fee to the system. I think we can do much better with that 390,800 then buying Cando another truck for curbside we can’t use. I want a new truck too, Just not making my neighbours buy it. But I especially don’t want messy waste trucks driving down our peaceful quiet lane where kids and bunnies play. I would rather you-haul and can pay my fee in advance if that helps and use a punch card for accountability and simplicity. Thanks for your consideration. Wondering what other community member ideas would be for spending 390,800 of our money in perhaps a better way?

  2. I’m not excited about paying more taxes, but if it means I don’t have to see appliances out on the street anymore I won’t mind paying. Bonus if we can get rid of abandoned campers on my street!

  3. Terry Biddlecombe March 30, 2018, 1:32 am

    Point Roberts has too small of a population to support a formal collection service. The county should be involved in the Transfer Station and a private contractor could use an old pickup truck offering a service to pick up and haul garbage bags to the transfer station for a fee to anyone who wanted or needed this service. Sort of like….. other small communities!

  4. I don’t get it. The Point garbage company has 2500 customers now. There is no new customers. Most existing customers for one reason or another choose not to have garbage pickup. How is this going to change with mandatory garbage collection?
    There is no need to buy new equipment, there will only be 400 or so that pickup works for. I can only hope that we can still self haul to dump for free.

  5. Monthly curbside collection of waste in Point Roberts appears unworkable as a profit-making business at reasonable prices even with an effective subsidy of low rent for the transfer station. Therefore, this system of funding curbside collection in Point Roberts via property taxes has been proposed. Under this proposal, all property owners, regardless of whether they utilize the service or not, will have to pay for the service. With the actual cost of collection from approximately one third of the properties being spread out over all the properties, the price paid for the service may appear reasonable to those who utilize it. But it’s not fair to a) those who don’t generate very much waste because they live in a respectful relationship with the planet they inhabit and/or don’t value consumerism and b) those don’t live here throughout the year.

    I advocate a prepaid tag system whereby residents can purchase a curbside waste pickup service for one can which also entitles them to pickup of a reasonable (to be defined) quantity of recyclable materials. I’ve been told that this system already exists, but have not seen it publicly announced. A discounted-price tag would entitle the purchaser to dispose of the same quantity of waste by hauling it to the transfer station themselves. This might enable trash hauling to become a viable business again. And it would be fair.

    However, if most people favor the discounted tags and self-haul, we would not be paying our share of the cost of the important waste management services that Whatcom County provides to us. Fortunately, a bill (2017-244) has been introduced that, if adopted, would solve this aspect of the problem by applying the excise tax to self-haulers as well.
    Let’s think some more about ways that we can solve our waste issues here in Point Roberts instead of coercing the Canadians to pay for the current system that we don’t want to pay for ourselves. Taxing people who can’t vote for or against the tax doesn’t feel very good to the taxed.

  6. As the Great Garbage Ripoff rolls on it would be great to know what the monthly rate will actually be as well as the days that garbage will be picked up.What I envision happening is a slew of garbage cans rolling around on our streets after all the partime residents leave on Sunday and don’t return until the following weekend hopefully iam wrong.This is an ill conceived plan that takes an already exspensive service and perhaps gives us some of the most costly garbage around.Making people pay for garbage that they do not generate seems as though it only works for a select few there must be a better way.

  7. Terry Biddlecombe March 15, 2018, 11:54 pm

    Well it looks as though there is little hope for us. They said their mandate was to have a flexible system that works for everyone including the seasonal residents. An annual fee tacked into the tax bill for maybe 10 garbage tickets that anyone who needs more could trade up to a full garbage pickup plan would meet the needs of most seasonal residents. This would give the flexibility that easonal residents could use more tickets in the summer months to make up for using none for 6-9 months of the year.

    Point Roberts is too small of an area to support garbage pick up, the previous owners couldn’t make a living at it nor could the owners before them. Low population areas typically have garbage drop off at transfer stations. Maybe they pay each time or maybe they get garbage tickets included with their property taxes. The current owner says he needs to hire more employees, purchase new equipment etc. Where will the employees and equipment be located from October through April when there still won’t be much more garbage to pick up than there is now? Seems very much overkill to me.

    Everyone manages to get what ultimately becomes garbage and recycling TO their homes without much trouble. So they should be able to get it to the transfer station. Why not have the cost of running the transfer station distributed over all tax payers and have free drop off of most material there? This would eliminate the large expense of running the pickup service entirely and provide much more reasonable overall costs tonall residents for garbage and recycling.

  8. We did not receive the letter referred to that article.


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