Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

New plan for waste collection

Emterra submits outline, cites progress

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Emterra has submitted a new plan to the City of Winnipeg outlining how it will pick up garbage and recycling on time.

On Monday, city solid waste manager Darryl Drohomerski said the waste collector submitted a draft plan on Friday that includes issues such as street-level supervision to confirm all area pickups have been completed. Drohomerski said the contractor collects garbage and recycling from about 38,000 homes every day, and has only missed a small number of homes and back lanes. He said 95 per cent of daily pickups are done, and the contractor has presented a plan to ensure they get that up to 100 per cent.

He expects Emterra will catch up with yard-waste collection by today, and be on time with Wednesday, Thursday and Friday collections. If not, Drohomerski said, Winnipeg will review options to ensure residents get their garbage and recycling picked up on time. He said it would be premature to disclose what those options are.

Since the changeover on Oct. 1, Drohomerski said about 100 homes have not had any collection. He said these homes are mostly located south of the floodway, and were accidentally excluded from the collection route.

"Certainly by the end of this week everything will be collected throughout the city of Winnipeg and back on schedule," Drohomerski said, noting the city was upfront and said they expected some initial challenges with the new system.

Last week, city officials threatened to hire additional crews and charge Emterra if the contractor had not caught up with collection service by Sunday evening. The move came after garbage and recycling pickup was between a half and full day behind in parts of the city.

Emterra has since hired additional help to pick up the large volumes of yard waste, though Drohomerski said they fell a bit short of completing all collections by Sunday evening. He said the pickups are progressing much more quickly, and believes Emterra will meet the expectations of the contract.

On Oct. 1, 165,000 single-family homes switched to automated garbage and recycling carts from manual collection. Winnipeg's contract allows for a one-month grace period, so no financial penalties will be levied for performance until Nov. 1.

"You can't expect perfection on Day 1," Drohomerski said.

River Heights-Fort Garry Coun. John Orlikow said he is upset to hear the city's claim that Emterra is now on schedule when his own street has not been serviced this week.

"I don't know what they're doing. They say they've picked up all the waste, while I know they haven't," said Orlikow, who ran a residential recycling company in the 1990s.

"To say it's OK they're missing garbage pickups because it's growing pains, I don't think that's OK. I didn't have a grace period when I was in recycling," he said.

St. Vital Coun. Brian Mayes has asked council's public works head to call a special meeting to find out whether late collections are the "new normal." He said he discovered some areas of his ward south of the Perimeter did not receive pickup for two weeks since the operator and supervisor did not realize neighbourhoods such as St. Germain and Vermette were part of Winnipeg.

Mayes said the city should levy penalties against the contractor and needs to find out whether Winnipeg is still paying them for the originally contracted price.

"It's a fair question to ask is this the new normal?" he said early Monday.

Emterra began collecting waste from residential homes in southwest, southeast and northeast Winnipeg Oct. 1. The company started collecting from former autobin areas on Aug. 1. Another firm, BFI, has the contract for the rest of the northwest Winnipeg.


-- with files from Bartley Kives

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 16, 2012 B1

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