Friday, February 5, 2016

Something stinks

I've been away... repressed actually, but I'm going to try to get my toes wet again.

Miss me? It's been so hard not to sit down and spew. The illegal "know your zone" tickets almost did it for me since I had prepared a post back when they rolled this out with examples of how it's done in other areas, and the fact that signage was deemed necessary where this had been done before (in a Canadian City).

I read today's latest article on composting services (quoted at the bottom of the page) with disbelief. I find it amazing that any department run as badly as Water and Waste could possibly get the OK to introduce anything new until they figure out what they're doing currently. For those of you who get your "news" from Facebook...

In Winnipeg, "new" is related to a revenue stream, not a service. Another program they can ding me another $50 for (over and above the $55 I already pay for the recycling)

This Department is rife with DISMAL fails. Consider that back in June in 2011 the City announced that it was going to recapture methane gas from the Brady Road Landfill, and use the gas to power the vehicles used there. How has that worked out? Well considering it was September 2013 when they finally got the scaled back plan working, and that was about 12 years later than they wanted to get it done, you'd think that this would be a banner project with all the promises fulfilled! Collection of gas powering vehicles, heating buildings... but that ain't happening. Apparently, it's too costly, or too difficult, or maybe there's NO REVENUE STREAM! Who would you tax to do this? The savings aren't there to justify the expense, so The City decides to just NOT do it, all they do now is collect and burn it off. It's nice to talk about things...

So it goes in Winnipeg. Talk a big talk, like you're "world class" and come up with a finished project that doesn't look anything like what you've proposed to do for more money than budgeted.

How about our recycling centres?

We were supposed to get four of them, located in various parts of the City, all to make our recycling easier, better...whatever. Isn't this where that special levy was supposed to go? And what do we have today to show for the over budget, under deliver department that was granted this extra charge on our bills that we cannot opt out of (a tax)?

We have one (apparently) opened at the much loved "I have to get my tire fixed after visiting" Brady Road site, and one on Pacific that is supposed to be open... in the future. Really, who cares what date they put on it who wants to drive from North Kildonan to Brady Road?

The point is, they are so late, and so over budget that they simply have to generate MORE REVENUE to pay for their ineptness. After all, this was approved back in October of 2011.

What I guess I like most about the recent article is the last few lines,

"Today's presentation to Council was intended to share information with them about an engagement exercise the City of Winnipeg is preparing to bring forward to residents about a possible curbside organics strategy.
"The City of Winnipeg first wants to hear from residents and wants their feedback on what sort of program they want, or if they want one at all."

If the comments in the FreeP are any indication, you don't have to hold your BS consultations, and you can just leave my compost pile alone. (and keep your hands out of my pockets).

Please note that I haven't even touched on how bad the current system is, the fact that the claims of needing automatic trucks was to reduce the "poor oppressed workers" were bogus, and they still lift up these big containers (designed to be lifted by a machine) by hand to empty them into a "traditional" rear load garbage truck (in my lane anyway), or the fact that there is still no "once a month" day for bulky items scheduled for pick up in our inner city neighbourhoods, but we do have twice a month organic pick up... unless we don't, in which case they make it by once a month.
Because some of you may not subscribe...

Homeowners could be paying an additional $55-$100 annually on their sewer and water bills if a plan for curbside organic pickup goes ahead.
Councillors were briefed on the proposal at a closed-door meeting Thursday, where some details and costs were outlined.
The new fee would be in addition to $56 already charged annually to individual homeowners for unspecified recycling initiatives.
"This is an additional city tax at a time when property owners are facing a heavy municipal tax burden," Coun. Russ Wyatt said. "It sounds like a wonderful program but we have to have priorities and I don’t think this is one of them right now."
Wyatt (Transcona) said the water and waste department is moving ahead with the kitchen waste program despite having never carried out a pilot project, as it was directed to do by council in 2011.
Councillors were told a public consultation process will be launched soon, with a final report going to council before the end of the year for inclusion in the 2017 budget.
Curbside organic pickup was part of a comprehensive waste diversion strategy council adopted in 2011. That plan included the current waste and recycling pickup. The first of three or four super recycling depot, which is already three years behind schedule, is expected to open at the Brady landfill any day now.
Many Canadian communities have had household curbside organic pick-up for several years.
Wyatt said the administration wants to roll out the new curbside program for 2017, when the current curbside contract with Emterra expires.
The amount of the new household fee is still unknown, Wyatt said, adding it would depend on what is included in organic kitchen waste.
The administration presented three options for a household fee to councillors, he said: $55-$60 for vegetables only; $60-$70 for all food scraps; $90-$100 for all food scraps and pet waste.
Wyatt said the plan is to have the winning proponent pick-up recyclable, general household waste and kitchen waste.
"Winnipeggers already pay the highest water and sewer rates in the country," Wyatt said. "This will just make living in Winnipeg even more expensive."
The annual recycling fee was increased $5 in 2015, from $50 to $55.
Wyatt said adding kitchen waste pick-up will be costly for the city – and ultimately homeowners – because the current trucks used by Emterra would have to be scrapped or redesigned to accommodate an isolated containment area for the organic waste.
In addition, Wyatt said a 2011 estimate placed the cost of purchasing organic bins at $11.4 million; the cost of a new processing facility at $45 million -$65 million.
Wyatt said it’s expected whoever is the winning bidder will have to increase the fleet Emterra has by 50 per cent, to handle the extra waste.
Wyatt said while officials had an estimate for the new household fee, they would not provide councillors with current costs associated with other aspects of the program.
"It looks to me like the administration has been muzzled," Wyatt said, adding that direction would only come from Mayor Brian Bowman’s office.
"If you know the price you’re going to charge customers, you have to know your own costs but the administration told us they didn’t have those numbers," Wyatt said. "I think they’re being muzzled by the mayor."
Bowman, who is in Ottawa for the Big City Mayors’ meeting, could not be reached for comment but a spokesman denied the mayor had issued any orders to the administration to withhold vital information from councillors.
"The project is not at a stage where detailed cost information is available because the scope and breadth of the program hasn't been determined," said Jonathan Hildebrand, Bowman’s director of communications. "Today's presentation to Council was intended to share information with them about an engagement exercise the City of Winnipeg is preparing to bring forward to residents about a possible curbside organics strategy.

"The City of Winnipeg first wants to hear from residents and wants their feedback on what sort of program they want, or if they want one at all."