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City may hire more garbage, recycling crews, charge Emterra

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Winnipeg will consider hiring more collection crews and charging Emterra if the company does not catch up with garbage and recycling collection by late Sunday.

This afternoon, city solid waste manager Darryl Drohomerski said collection crews are between a half to full day behind in parts of the city.

On Oct. 1, 165,000 single-family homes switched over from manual collection to automated garbage and recycling carts. Some residents have complained crews have not picked up their garbage and recycling in two weeks.

Drohomerski said city officials anticipated there would be challenges, and there have been a few "bumps in the road" with Emterra, the new private contractor. He said crews are working early in the morning, late at night and on the weekend to catch up. Drohomerski said he expects the situation will be resolved by Sunday at 6 p.m. If crews are still not on schedule, he said the city may hire other contractors and charge Emterra.

"It hasn't gone way worse, and we have seen some improvements this week," he said. "I think what we've seen is not enough improvement, from our own perspective, without better planning from the collector's side."

Winnipeg included financial penalties in Emterra's contract.

The company started automated garbage and recycling collection for 24,000 households in the former autobin areas on Aug. 1. Drohomerski said the first month was a grace period, but the city has charged Emterra penalties for their performance since Sept. 1.

He declined to say how much Winnipeg has fined the company.

Emterra is taking the city’s concerns very seriously and is working to rectify the service problems as soon as possible, said business development manager Paulina Leung.

"All contracts have penalties and we take penalties very seriously," she said, adding the company is using all of its resources to manage the transition period.

She said she is confident residents will be happy with Emterra’s service once the firm gets up to speed.

History

Updated on Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 4:46 PM CDT: Adds comment from Emterra.

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