A one-year, $350,000 curbside organic waste collection pilot program slated for this fall will target a range of neighbourhoods, housing types and demographics.
City of Kamloops environmental services manager Glen Farrow said the city is targeting between 2,000 to 2,500 homes, representing large and small yards, new and old homes, high- and low-income residents, high and low density, rentals and owned homes and other factors.
“A wide cross-section of the community is what we’re looking for,” Farrow said, noting the city is currently working on such variables and seeking input from the community on additional factors that should be considered.
The pilot program — which aims to pick up food scraps, food-soiled paper products and other organic materials from select homes in Kamloops to inform a possible citywide residential program — will be operated for one year, beginning in September.
If council ultimately approves the full-blown program following the pilot, the properties selected for the initial test run would continue service and would not see service disruption, with additional properties added, essentially an expansion of the pilot.
Farrow said the city is not starting from scratch with the organics collection program, as it has been speaking with other communities about what has been rolled out similarly in British Columbia.
The city plans to pick up organics from one route (about 500 homes) in each of five zones (which generally encompass about 5,000 properties in areas like Westsyde, Brocklehurst, downtown/North Kamloops, Aberdeen and east Kamloops), from which it collects garbage and recycling on a rotational basis.
Each zone has between 10 to 12 routes. As for which routes will be chosen, Farrow said that still needs to be figured out. The city collects waste from 27,000 carts across Kamloops. Homes with suites may have two carts.
One other consideration for the pilot is areas more likely to be impacted by wildlife, with one concern the attraction of wildlife to food scraps discarded into bins.
“We’ve heard about rats and bears and some of those vectors that people have some concerns about within the community,” Farrow said. “One of these pilot groups will likely be in an area where there are a higher impact of wildlife, like a Barnhartvale or Juniper. If I look at Zone 5, out east, I would think that would be a zone where we’re having a higher bear-conflict interaction.”
As such, Valleyview or Dallas residents would likely be excluded from the organics collection pilot program.
The pilot will be free of charge to homes that are selected. The $350,000 pilot program cost will be funded from the city’s solid waste reserve. Farrow said that, essentially, a portion of recycling and garbage fees will subsidize the organics pilot program. The city is also seeking grant funding for the program.
Residents can participate in an online survey and two virtual information sessions. The first information session will be held on Wednesday, April 14, via Zoom from noon to 1 p.m. The next session is on Thursday, April 29, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. In addition, an online survey is available online until May 18. It can be accessed at https://letstalk.kamloops.ca/organics, where residents can also find the link to the online Zoom sessions.
Farrow said a quick poll conducted on the city’s Let’s Talk page drew more than 1,500 votes, with 84 per cent in support of the program.
“That’s pretty positive,” he said. “We have had a lot of engagement, a lot of questions, a lot of back and forth providing further clarity on this program. People are engaged, paying attention and, in most cases, are excited to have this coming to Kamloops.”
If implemented, a full community program would be rolled out in 2023.