Garden waste drop off at the Saanich Parks and Public Works yard has been shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (District of Saanich/Twitter)

Two-hour waits for yard waste drop-off in Saanich not a police matter

First hour after opening is busiest, two hour waits expected, District spokesperson says

Since yard waste drop-off resumed at the Saanich Public Works Yard, wait times have been upwards of two hours and traffic has been heavy. Some, fed up with the traffic, called on the Saanich Police Department but officers can’t do anything about the wait.

After being closed for more than a month, yard waste drop-off service resumed on April 25 with new safety protocols and reduced hours. For now, garden waste drop-off is open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

At the moment, the busiest time at the Public Works Yard is the first hour after garden waste drop-off opens, said Megan Catalano, information officer for the Saanich Emergency Operations Centre.

“We continue to ask people not to arrive early before opening,” she said, pointing out that there’s nowhere for a line to form outside the Public Works Yard.

Traditionally, a web-cam on the Saanich website shows the yard waste drop-off line but, due to increased traffic, the line-up has been rerouted outside of the web-cam’s view so it has been temporarily disabled. Residents should anticipate wait times of up to two hours.

On weekdays when the yard is open in the evening – Monday, Tuesday, Friday – Catalano recommends waiting until after 6 p.m. to avoid the rush.

Const. Markus Anastasiades, public information officer for the Saanich Police Department, emphasized that bad traffic and line ups are not something police can do anything about. He added that it’s understandable volume has increased at the yard as residents make up for missed drop-offs, but said it’s up to municipal staff to manage traffic back-ups in the area.

Police manage traffic when emergency crews are blocking roadways but don’t attend standard traffic jams, he explained. Heavier traffic is to be expected during events such as grand openings and big sales, Anastasiades said, but police aren’t called about bad traffic outside malls on Boxing Day as there’s nothing to be done – the same goes for the yard waste drop-off line.

Residents are reminded that 911 is for emergencies only and that the Saanich Police Department’s non-emergency line has been busier than usual as the front office is closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Catalano also said Saanich residents should be aware illegal dumping of yard waste and other materials is “not acceptable.” Excess yard waste can be managed by creating a backyard compost area or by mulching grass clippings, she said.


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