The City of Kamloops may increase residential garbage collection fees on all but the smallest bin size, as part of several proposed rate changes related to the management of solid waste.
Environmental services manager Glen Farrow said the city is taking a close look at its waste-related rates, including collection and disposal for residential and commercial waste at the curb and at the landfill, as part of bylaws revisions. Farrow said the goal is waste reduction and diversion.
“We’ve adjusted them [rates] to further incentivize and encourage increased diversion of materials going to our landfill,” Farrow said.
The civic operations committee voted to send the proposed rate increases, through bylaw updates, to council, which has final say on whether the rates are changed.
The proposed rate increase for residential garbage collection impacts the 180-litre bin (currently $113 per year for rental and collection, proposed increase to $121 per year), 245-litre bin ($140/$150) and 360-litre bin ($220/$242). It does not impact the smallest bin, which is 120 litres.
About half of Kamloops households use the 245-litre bin, the second-largest size, according to a city report. According to the number of containers in use and the proposed rate increases, the change would net the city an additional $216,000 per year.
Farrow said the additional revenues would cover increased costs of collection, including for repairs, fuel and staff wages. In addition, he said it would help cover the costs of landfill capital projects, including future expansions.
The issue was discussed during a recent civic operations committee meeting, where Coun. Kathy Sinclair noted the smallest (120-litre) bin size costs ‚ and would continue to cost — the most per litre under the new rate structure.
She questioned whether that incentivizes waste reduction. An alternative rate proposal not recommended by staff suggested decreasing the rate for that smallest,120-litre bin. However, Farrow noted larger bin sizes are often collecting waste for more people, such as families or those in secondary suites. Farrow said the city does not wish to penalize households that have blended families. In addition, Farrow told KTW, there is a base rate to cover costs for such collection.
Farrow said the utility is required to be self-sufficient and not result in tax rate increases. At the committee meeting, Mayor Ken Christian agreed with the user-pay system.
“This is waste paying for waste,” he said.
Farrow said operating and capital costs are significant. Further, Farrow said a rate increase for residential garbage collection has not occurred since 2012.
The city may also increase some landfill rates in order to ensure the public is taking certain products to the right locations for diversion. A proposed increase from $100 to $500 per tonne for yard waste at the Mission Flats landfill and the Kamloops Resource Recovery Centre (former Owl Road dump ) in Valleyview, for example, is aimed at changing behaviour.
The city hopes by charging a higher rate at those locations for that product, people will instead take it to the Cinnamon Ridge compost facility, which is free of charge and composts yard scraps. The city received 160 tonnes of yard waste for disposal at Missions Flats landfill in 2019.
Conversely, rates for wood and asphalt waste at the Kamloops Resource Recovery Centre are proposed to decrease to encourage people to take it to that location.
“We’ve set up these facilities to really have source-separated material,” Farrow said. “What we are trying to reduce and eliminate is construction loads with a variety of, you name it, just throw it all into the site.”
A waste-related fine is proposed to rise as part of the bylaw revision. Council will review the committee’s proposal to increase a fine of $125 for multi-family dwellings to $500 for insufficient recycling services. Farrow said the $125 fine currently in place is not a sufficient deterrent.
Meanwhile, a curbside organics collection pilot program is in the works to collect food scraps and other materials. The city has said one option, should the pilot become permanent, could be rotating garbage and organics collection on a biweekly basis.
Farrow said that discussion is independent of the proposed rate increases. He said several options will be on the table, but noted the conversation is in the early stages.