Lethbridge city council reopens discussions on future curbside organics program

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WATCH: Coun. Rajko Dodic came forward with a motion at Tuesday’s city council meeting, asking administration to report back with further information on Lethbridge’s future curbside organics program. Danica Ferris has more on the new questions being asked. – Jan 18, 2022

Councillor Rajko Dodic would like a closer look at the costs of curbside organics collection is Lethbridge.

The green bin program was already approved as part of the 2022-2031 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) budget, with the city set to implement curbside pickup throughout Lethbridge in the spring of next year.

Read more: Lethbridge city council approves CIP plan as questions continue about budget cycle process

But Dodic says he doesn’t believe all avenues have been explored for green waste diversion, which led to him bringing forth a fact-finding motion at Tuesday’s meeting of city council.

“Part of it had to do with the fact that this was something that’s being launched in 2023, and I wasn’t convinced that all the questions had been answered,” Dodic said.

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His motion proposed that council direct city administration to report back to the Economic Standing Policy Committee on April 13, 2022, to answer the following questions:

  1. What would be the capital and operational costs to modify the existing regional sites, in order to enable residents the opportunity to drop off the waste material meant to be diverted through the green bin program?
  2.  Of the funds already spent on program, what portion could be utilized or repurposed to allow for green waste diversion through the regional sites?
  3. What impact, financial or otherwise, would there be to the City if the currently approved program were to be removed from the CIP?

The city has already spent more than $10 million of the $10.6 million capital cost required to construct the needed compost facility, purchase carts and bins for single family and multi-family services, and buy four collection trucks.

Dodic says based on how many people brought recycling materials to regional sites prior to the city’s blue bin program, he believes organics could be voluntary.

Read more: Proposed curbside organics program to be discussed at Lethbridge city council meeting

But the next steps for council will depend on the answers from administration.

“If they say the financial savings are going to be X amount of dollars, and if they’re significant, then council will have some tougher decisions to make,” he said.

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“If on the other hand, the answers are, ‘you know what, we can’t even accommodate it at the regional sites and none of the things that we’ve already purchased can be repurposed,’ then the answer for council is going to be a little bit different.”

Dodic’s motion passed in an 8-1 vote on Tuesday, with councillor Jeff Carlson the only one opposed.

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