A 100 per cent increase in the minimum charge for taking trash to the Mission landfill has died on the council table.
The proposed increase, from $5 to $10 per load, was presented to council last month and received second and third reading. However, on Tuesday evening, no one on council voted to give the proposal final approval, thus defeating the idea altogether.
Coun. Jim Hinds said when the proposed hike was initially brought up by staff, it was described as a way of encouraging people to make fewer, small trips to the landfill and cut down traffic congestion and safety concerns on Dewdney Trunk Road by the landfill entrance.
“My concern is you do not solve a traffic problem or a safety problem by adding a fee on,” Hinds said.
He said there needs to be a better way.
Mayor Randy Hawes echoed those remarks, saying that it was initially thought that doubling the fee and doubling the weight allowed would bring less traffic, but that isn’t the case.
“I think that the comments we received from the people in the rural area were very sensible and they pointed out why they had to come every week. People compost and they can’t keep that compost for two weeks because it develops odours and it attracts wildlife,” Hawes said.
He said that dropping off compost, rather than garbage, is free so regardless of whether the fee doubles, rural residents will come every week anyway.
“The new fee will not solve the problem,” said Hawes, adding that if it doesn’t solve the problem, he can’t support it.
Coun. Jenny Stevens said, as a small-scale consumer, the proposed increase made her cross.
“This is the same as stores that won’t sell me fewer than 16 sausages in a package. So because I’m a small consumer, I have to go without the sausages or else I have to eat them every day for a week.”
Stevens said it’s the same as being a rural person who is not producing loads of garbage. They may have to put up with “stinky garbage” in hot weather because they don’t have enough to justify the minimum charge.
“That’s not fair,” she said.
Coun. Pam Alexis said the “big picture” problem is still the diversion rate and asked district staff to work with the Fraser Valley Regional District to see what else can be done to decrease diversion rates.
With the fee increase bylaw now defeated, Hawes said the issue needs to go back to staff.
“If this doesn’t work and you are really that concerned about the traffic problem, let’s deal with the traffic problem,” he said.