A Winnipeg city councillor is trashing the city's system for picking up discarded mattresses and furniture in back alleys and empty lots.
Coun. Ross Eadie (Mynarski) plans to make a motion at next Wednesday's city council meeting directing the city to use civic employees or hire a private contractor or social agency to pick up the bulky refuse.
Eadie said Emterra, the city's main garbage contractor, is unable to keep up with collecting such trash and people are illegally dumping it, even as the city moves to raise fines to $600 for individuals and $1,200 for corporations who do so. The current fine is $300.
Eadie said this garbage is an eyesore and fire risk.
"I'm getting pretty frustrated," he said. "In Brandon, they have dedicated trucks go up and down back lanes and they just pick it all up. We also need dedicated trucks to go down back lanes."
Moreover, Eadie said he knows people who have paid the $5 fee to have a large garbage item picked up, but are still waiting for the pickup 10 days later.
"Emterra did not bid high enough so it could have the resources to pick up garbage, recycling, yard waste and bulk items," he said. "That's why I didn't vote for this plan, because I knew it wouldn't solve the bulk-waste problem."
Winnipeg School Division trustee Mike Babinsky, who emailed city officials and politicians about the problem after he took photos on the weekend of dumped mattresses and furniture in alleys, agreed the city must find a way to remove to the junk faster. "It's a fire hazard," Babinsky said.
"Maybe the city should take another look at what's going on. And we have to have pride in ownership where you live."
Darryl Drohomerski, the city's manager of solid-waste services, said the city isn't ignoring the problem.
Drohomerski said both of the city's bulk waste contractors, Emterra and BFI, are picking up the large garbage within the city's mandate of up to 10 business days.
"We're not seeing anything more than a typical spring," Drohomerski said.
"We see an awful lot from now until the end of June -- that's the majority. It's when there's lots of movement. People are moving... many going out of town. Historically, we always see this."
Drohomerski said even though the contractors have up to 10 business days to pick up bulk waste, many of the pickups occur within two or three days.
"It all depends on the volume and the time of year," he said.
But Drohomerski said the crews don't go on private property to pick up items.
"It may sound silly, but we don't know if it was dumped or if it is by someone who put a couch there to watch the sun set.
"We've had claims for reimbursement before. We pick up stuff that's in the lane."
Drohomerski said if Winnipeggers want the mandate changed so all bulk waste is picked up in less time, it would have to come through a change approved by city council.