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Yard waste focus again

It’s good news city hall has concluded that Guelph residents want to keep spring and fall yard waste collection. What’s not necessarily great, though, is the way that city staff are proposing to save it.
Guelphites have been receiving the twice-annual service for many years. But eliminating it to save money, starting in 2015, was part of the plan for fully converting from a three-bag to a three-cart system by the fall of 2014. The idea – which was always dubious, bordering on ludicrous – was that topping up green bins each week with yard waste was an acceptable substitute.
Instead of just admitting it was always a bad idea, city staff intend to book the saving. Then they’ll present keeping the twice-annual service to council as an “operating budget expansion” item in the city’s 2015 budget. This means taxes would have to go up to save the spring and fall collections, unless offsetting cuts are made elsewhere.
Unfavourable comparisons are often made between Guelph’s twice-annual service and Waterloo Region’s biweekly yard waste collection (for eight months of the year). And Guelph’s city hall staff have proposed budget expansions in the past to boost the frequency of yard waste collections. Council has never given the green light.
So it’s no sure thing that council will approve this “operating budget expansion” for 2015, either. But hopefully council will get the message that staff heard during consultations on the city’s new waste management master plan. Topping up green bins is a good supplement for twice-annual pickup, but it’s a lousy substitute.

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