Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

A confusing and smelly situation

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We've just received the new garbage and recycling bins and, after trying to find a place for them in the back yard, I came to realize there will be more problems with them than I had anticipated. First, they are bigger and heavier than our regular ones and will not fit in the spot reserved for our garbage cans.

I can foresee more serious problems. My wife and I are both seniors and usually the extent of our garbage for the week is a small plastic grocery bag that we carry out to the front since we don't have a back lane. Now we'll have to drop that small bag in that large bin and then push or drag it to the curb on the front street, otherwise, it will not be picked up.

That brings me to another problem our mayor and councillors obviously have not considered. Do they not live here? This is Winnipeg. This is not Los Angeles, Honolulu, or Miami. For about six months of the year we have something called snow on the ground. This white stuff is not very conducive to moving things with small wheels.

I'd like to ask the mayor and those councillors who supported this plan to picture this in their minds: It is morning in the middle of January, the temperature is -30 degrees C, with a brisk north wind. It had snowed during the night, and the wind has whipped the fresh snow into banks that have quickly hardened.

Now, add to the picture a little old lady, all bundled up, trying to move one of these new bins from her back yard to the front street because it is garbage day. I can assure you these bins will not co-operate under these conditions. You can also be sure that this picture will be repeated over and over again throughout this city.

I know there are many seniors, older than I, who still want to live in their own homes for as long as they can. Instead of encouraging us to do so, city hall seems intent to herd us into apartments or condos.

Another concern of mine is the placement of the bins on the street. The directive tells us to place them 39 inches apart and 39 inches away from any other objects with the wheels against the curb. It goes on to direct us that we must clear any snow from the top of, from beneath, and from around each bin. Now, does this sound like it was written by someone who lives in Winnipeg all year round? In reality the curbs are nowhere to be seen in the winter. In fact, they are two feet or more away from the cleared section, depending on the snow plow operator. What are we to do? The snow near the curb is as hard as rock and there are huge snow banks all along the curbs. Everybody who lives in our city knows that. What about parked cars? As far as I know, parking is still allowed on one side of the street. Where do the people living on that side place the bins?

Meanwhile, new TV ads are now appearing, paid for by us, the taxpayers. They show an attractive model on a beautiful summer's day placing the bins on a driveway and telling us to space them an arm's length apart. But the directions, included with the bins, clearly contradict this. Which directions do we follow? If we place them on the driveway, then there will be no way of getting in or out.

Can we please have one clear set of rules?

Tony Swidinsky


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 22, 2012 A16

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