Garbage Collection ChangingIn 1916, more than half a million Canadian men had enlisted in the Great War, Ottawans were being stalked by the impending Spanish Flu and tragically, Centre Block was destroyed by fire.
However, it has been said that a significant corner was turned in Ottawa during this year that would benefit all residents and would become a core service: the beginning of garbage collection. Prior to this, many less affluent residents had no choice but to discard their refuse into the street.
Despite my opposition, in November 2012, garbage collection will be reduced to bi-weekly. While I am an advocate of using the Green Bin, along with the blue and black bins, there are too many of our residents that will be inconvenienced or punished. In serving our residents, we must always bear in mind that it is incumbent upon elected officials to weigh the greater interests of the many, rather than the few.
While I was not part of City Council who voted for the Green Bin initiative, it is now our responsibility to provide further education about recycling and the benefits for our residents. When I ran to represent you at City Hall, I said I would not shrink from my duties; and now that bi-weekly garbage has passed, I want to help residents adjust.
As a fiscal conservative, I am pleased that we will save taxpayers $9 million annually or a 10 per cent reduction from the portion of the tax bill associated with waste collection, or reduced garbage rates by nearly $30 per year. The increase in waste diversion will preserve the life of municipal landfills. Some experts peg the costs of a landfill at more than $200 million.
As a City Councillor with a significant rural component, we will be able to produce valuable compost to be used by local farmers in our community. There are other environmental benefits, such as fewer garbage trucks emitting greenhouse gases. For more information, visit: http://bit.ly/greenbinfaq
However, recycling is not just about the Green bin: there are the blue and black boxes as well. As an example, when my wife Marta and I deposit our recyclables into the blue and black boxes, we are diverting waste from our landfill, ensuring materials can be reused, and helping to save money. In fact, in the last eight years the sale of recyclable materials has provided close to $53 million in revenue to the City of Ottawa. For more information, visit: http://bit.ly/ottawarecycle
When I think about my own responsibility to our community and City, I am reminded of the U.S. President, Theodore Roosevelt’s words: “To waste, to destroy, our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them.”