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Councillor recommends town look at taking over commercial waste hauling


ST. PAUL - A proposal from Town of St. Paul Coun. Nathan Taylor regarding commercial waste pickup in town received mixed reaction from the rest of council during the Jan. 27 regular council meeting.

Taylor, who positioned himself as a delegation, speaking from the front of the room rather than his regular seat, offered council information regarding an idea he felt was worth pursuing. He recommended the town explore the idea of taking over all garbage pick-up in the municipality, specifically speaking about commercial garbage.

As it stands, each local business chooses which private hauling contractor to use. A number of bins are located behind commercial properties throughout town. The waste is collected and taken to whichever landfill the contractor wants, and businesses pay contractors.

Commercial haulers pay a higher tipping fee at the Evergreen Regional Landfill, compared to municipal members of the waste management commission that operates the landfill. Commercial waste has an $85 per tonne tipping fee, while member municipalities pay $40 per tonne.

Taylor recommended the town have a super contract with just one hauler, and possibly look at the option of the owning the garbage bins throughout town. Businesses would then pay the town a fee, like other utilities, and the town would take care of the super contract.

Taylor estimates that having the town take over waste collection and awarding a contract to one hauler would save businesses $50 to $75 a month, or $600 to $900 a year each.

He also believes it would ensure waste from St. Paul is being hauled to Evergreen, and not other landfills in Alberta, thus reducing emissions of haulers.

“What I am asking for at this point is to have council’s support for me to formally present this idea to the Chamber of Commerce and the business community. By engaging early, I hope to address concerns and gauge support for this proposal before council or administration spends more time and energy preparing details plans,” wrote Taylor in a handout he gave council members Monday night.

During his presentation, he noted that if the business community isn’t interested in the idea, then he wouldn’t pursue it further.

Coun. Norm Noel said he was concerned about the fact that Taylor, who sits on the Evergreen Regional Waste Management Services Commission board, hadn’t approached the landfill board with the idea yet. He recommended Taylor speak to the Evergreen board before having other discussions.

Noel also questioned if the concept would drive down Evergreen’s revenue, since commercial haulers pay a higher tipping fee.

Taylor noted that he felt the change would allow for a more predictable amount of waste hauled to Evergreen, which would be beneficial. Currently, some waste is being hauled elsewhere due to lower tipping fees for commercial haulers at other landfills.

Taylor said he felt it was council’s responsibility to do everything in its power to save businesses money.

Mayor Maureen Miller noted that she felt the idea could potentially put out some of the commercial waste haulers operating in town, and had questions regarding management of the bins.

Miller noted that while she felt businesses would understand that the concept could save them money, she wondered if they would be conscious of the risk the town would be taking in order to do so.

“I see there’s a benefit. I think there’s holes in the plan,” said Miller.

After the presentation, the rest of council asked Taylor to follow up his presentation with a business plan containing more information and numbers.