Residents of the Town of Lake Cowichan are frustrated with the recycling services provided by the town’s contractor following another round of missed pickups before Christmas.
While the snow tends to offer a little bit of grace from annoyed residents, many have issues with pickup even when there’s no snow on the ground.
Debbie Humble has lived in Lake Cowichan since 2004 and has grown increasingly frustrated.
“We have supported the organic, garbage and recycling services throughout these years. When we went to the organic collection, we worked hard to ensure we sorted our waste appropriately and were able to quickly adapt to the new way of waste disposal,” Humble explained. “We struggle with a household of nine to keep our waste limited to the two containers we have been given by the town.”
While it’s difficult, they managed.
“Then the town went to two-week pickup and again we were able to adapt…”
That is, until there is an interruption to the pickup schedule.
“If information was passed on when we were getting a pickup following a snow storm we could adapt, but as usual there is nothing forthcoming from the town. It is extremely distressing to try and be good citizens and follow the rules when we have next to no assistance from the town. We will have to go to Meades Creek with our garbage and pay for that service. Our taxes are well over $4,000 dollars a year and I get to pay to haul away my own garbage. Ridiculous!”
Humble said she’s sent many messages to the town but has yet to receive a response, “which is also the norm.”
Lake Cowichan Mayor Tim McGonigle said there are many reasons why pickup is affected.
“We use Waste Connections as our contractor and weather, and staffing shortages are impacting pickup,” he said.
At a Dec. 20 council meeting McGonigle thanked the contractor for doing their best following a significant snowfall.
“We got 33 or 34 cm which was quite significant,” he said.
The Gazette has reached out to Waste Connections for comment but has yet to receive a response.
So for now, residents will continue to talk among themselves on social media, to determine when, and if, the trucks will be picking up their waste on any given day.
In other garbage related news, on Dec. 20, Lake Cowichan Town council read the first three readings of a waste bylaw aimed at protecting bears.
“Council felt that they wanted to ensure that bears were not killed for no reason and that people had to take care of garbage in a way that made sense, so as a result it makes sense to put in place language that would protect both man and beast,” said town CAO Joe Fernandez during council’s Dec. 20 meeting. “There were discussions on the issue of the fines and penalties and also the fact that tipping fees were being raised that affected the rate schedule on the bylaw.”
A staff report in the New Year is expected regarding planning and implementation of a bear-proof receptacle plan.