Since last year, the city has been talking about the new garbage
collection system that would change the way they’ve been previously conducting garbage pickup. Before I discuss the new collection system, I’ll give you a bit of a garbage pickup history.
For many, many years garbage men would come with the truck and hand collect our waste. It was a perfectly good system; garbage would be put out once every week, the men would come and collect, c’est la vie. As those years went on the desire of being a garbage collector became less and less, doing a “dirty” job wasn’t no longer on the list of most wanted jobs. That’s when the city decided (in the early 90s) that some communities in the city would be receiving autobins – large, communal type, garbage bins. The reception was mixed. Half was for and half was against, claiming infringement on their property (some home owners lost up to 3 inches of propery space behind their homes, some, were unable to park in their garages).
For years we dealt with a surge in the rodent population, delayed collection over the holidays and most of all, garbage fires. The autobins were a hot bed (pardon the pun) for arsonists and not a week went by without a handful of bins being set on fire. Not only fires, but we also dealt with illegal dumping – construction materials, large household items, etc. People felt that it was their own personal garbage bin and that they didn’t feel the need to travel to the south end of the city to dump stuff at Brady Road Landfill. Aside from the fires, stink and dumping of large items… our communities were mess. The lanes looked filthy and painted a horrible picture of our neighbourhoods.
I, along with others, were ecstatic when the city told the autobin residents would be moving from the autobins to a new single automated garbage collection starting August 1. Single bins and no more large, fire laden garbage bins. Our communities would also start looking better, cleaner, with the removal of the eyesores. It was working well for the Northwest part of the city, so it was time for the rest of the city to follow suit.
The delivery of the carts began and some neighbourhoods were missed while their autobins were removed first leaving them with nothing to put their collection of trash in (myself included). After the mix up was fixed the new collection began bright and early on August 1.
Or did it?
While my neighbourhood had smooth first day collection pick up, other neighbourhoods around the area were left with their carts being missed. After repeated calls to the city, to this day, these same neighbourhoods are still waiting for collection. And let’s not forget how some autobins were not picked up for weeks leaving people to continue to dump trash into them.
The most tragic part of this garbage apocalypse (as named by a Twitter follower) is that our senior and disabled neighbours are feeling the brunt of it. Unable to roll the carts to the curbs themselves, their garbage is piling up leaving a rotten, smelly mess thanks to the City and their new contractor Emterra. Seniors and disabled citizens had special pick up where someone would come to the house and take the trash for them.
Not only is this issue frustrating, it is now become a health concern. Piles upon piles of garbage sitting in thick plastic bins are being cooked on hot days, creating dirty maggot infested smelly messes. I’m quite sure that rodents are circling around looking for their next meal and then trying to find homes within our homes.
Neighbourhoods are starting to stink and it’s not pleasant. Our MLA’s and City councilmen/women have been fielding calls since the new collection started in regards to this giant mess. The City of Winnipeg keeps saying that every new system has its kinks and they’ll be working on it. Emterra has said they have no clue where these neighbourhoods are and need GPS systems to get around. The new garbage contractor also said they have no idea who was receiving special pick up and since they are unaware, the elderly and disabled who relied on this service, are left in the dark.
I didn’t want to write an anger filled post about how my tax dollars are funding a poorly thought of and managed system. Instead I wanted to voice the concerns from our community in a nice post, stating the facts, and just putting it all on the table. The North End is a proud community filled with hard working people who strive to ensure their neighbourhoods are clean and safe for everyone, and this includes the proper collection of our waste. We all want a solution to this mess but when the city and its waste contractor are pointing fingers at each other, laying the blame, problems are not being solved. It’s just becoming worse. There are neighbourhoods within the North End that have gone, what will soon be, and entire month of garbage collection. Can you only imagine what that looks like? Well, for most… it’s reality. It’s a reality we do not want to be living in.
We can call 311 and complain, write to the media and call our politicians, but the city is not listening. Your highly touted garbage collection system is not working and it was poorly researched, evaluated and executed. What might have worked for one section of the city, is certainly not working for the larger part of the North End.
While the city missed one day of our garbage collection, it is disheartening that they missed entire neighbourhoods for weeks on end. This is not how we want to live and certainly be looked at. Not only do the citizens of the North End deserve a city that is working for them, but this goes for the entire City of Winnipeg. Why are we being treated as the experiment? I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way. I can only hope that their kinks are worked out before this system is rolled out to the remainder of the city. If you think that the voice of the North End is too loud, just wait until the rest of the city chimes in.
The City of Winnipeg we are calling upon you to get your act together and fix this garbage apocalypse. We’re tired of smelling the nasty piles of garbage and we’re tired of looking at it. We want a resolution and we would like it now. Our requests are nothing large, they’re something of a simple matter. We just want our garbage picked up and picked up on time. No more excuses. Please.
Sincerely, the communities of: