One of the benefits of releasing our platform in late June, is that it provides me with an opportunity to focus on a few of the micro-issues that Londoners routinely tell me matters to them. Last week, we outlined our plans to slow water rate increases while enhancing our sewage treatment efforts during storm surges.
This week, I am pleased to outline solutions to three nagging waste management issues that I believe can be resolved within the next term of Council.
First, I am fully supportive of the City’s Residual Waste Disposal and Resource Recovery Strategies. Both initiatives are designed to:
- increase the current London household waste diversion rate from 45% to 60% by 2022,
- maximize program convenience at the lowest possible cost to Londoners,
- consider new, emerging technologies that improve our diversion rates and/or reduce our system delivery costs,
- support local job creation and business development efforts,and,
- align with Provincial direction and the Waste Free Ontario Act.
A key component of this Strategy is the introduction of a weekly Green Bin program to collect organic waste. While the estimated $12 million start-up and $6.5 million annual operating costs are significant, the program will offset much steeper landfill expansion costs for non-compliance in the near future. The program is also respectful of the growing need for our society to assume its responsibility as stewards of our environment for both our generation and the next.
Same Day Per Week Pickup
Commensurate with the introduction of the green bin program, I believe London should finally adopt a same-day per week garbage pickup program to make it easier for families to embrace the city’s waste management strategies. For years, Londoners have chimed for the introduction of such a program, and given that the incremental cost to provide the added service amounts to approximately $500k annually or a little over $4/year per household, it strikes me as a value-added benefit for our city and our citizens.
Waste Management Task Force
In addition to the near-term actions above, I would like our City to immediately establish a Task Force comprised of key industry stakeholders from the waste management sector, one or more Councillors from the south-end wards, south-end residents, city staff members and any other interested parties to bring back to Council for the community’s consideration;
- A plan to fully and finally addressing the odour problems in the south end.
- A proposal to introduce a roll-out recycling cart management program.
- A plan to expand the recovery of building materials.
- An economic development proposal to create a regional waste management sector.
Further to this last point, I believe London has a number of unique public and private sector waste management assets available to us that could help our City reduce the cost of providing this service to our citizens, while creating well-paying jobs in an increasingly important environmentally-responsible market.
In other words, a win-win scenario.
London has an opportunity to finally lead in this important sector and deliver real value to its constituents all within the next term of Council. I believe that this mini-plan makes sense, and if elected, I shall make it happen.