Rimbey residents may have their compost pickup reinstated, but it won’t happen immediately.
A surprise motion by Mayor Rick Pankiw at last Monday’s meeting to reinstate the pickup program was tabled after public works director Rick Schmidt said it would be impossible to move ahead on it at once.
“I can’t do anything right out of the chute,” he said. “The truck needs repairs and we need to get pricing for a place to store the compost and the bins for the residents.”
In his motion, Pankiw said council has researched several options for composting.
“One possibility would have the residents purchase a small garbage can with a hole to drain out the moisture. These cans could be dumped into the truck by public works and the compost hauled to our recycle centre where we could dump it onto the pad that we used to use for garbage and have our skid steer push it into the compost bin below.’
Pankiw said garbage was handed in this way when the recycle centre was a transfer station.
“This would reduce the time it takes for public works to open the bags,” he said.
Using a garbage can would be more environmentally friendly than using garbage bags, he said.
Coun. Mathew Jaycox agreed using garbage cans as opposed to garbage bags was “heading in the right direction.”
The mayor’s suggestion was met with favorable comments around the council table, though it was determined more research about costs and validity would be needed.
Council agreed com- munication with the public was lacking when the decision was made to cancel the compost pickup.
“I don’t know that we did a very good job explaining as to why we did this,” said Coun. Jack Webb.
The public works director said Alberta Environment warned officials that the town’s water supply was at risk of being contaminated by the compost.
“Anything we were doing was counterproductive,” he said.
Reuben Giebelhaus, who was in attendance at Monday’s meeting, was not impressed with council’s suggestion that the program be reinstated.
“I was going to commend you fellows, but now you are backtracking,” he said. “If you are going to start picking up grass again, you will be doing it forever. Why are the people in Rimbey so spoiled?”
But Helen Coers, who was also in the gallery, disagreed.
“A lot of people cannot get down there. You need to look after the people that can’t.”
Council encouraged residents of Rimbey who grasscycle to continue.
“It is good for the environment as it reduces the need for fertilizers and water.”
At a previous meeting, Rimbey residents presented a petition signed by 570 town residents to council asking that the compost pick up be reinstated.
Along with the petition, several concerns regarding the program were read by Shirley Pobuda on behalf of Coers, who was unable to attend the meeting.
“At a time when municipalities all across the country are trying to educate people, and improve facilities and services relating to the care of the environment, the Town of Rimbey seems to be going in the opposite direction by selling off our equipment and ending a service in waste management that has been a part of Rimbey town life for almost 20 years. What is/are the reasons for this?” Coers asked in her written submission.
The mayor thanked the residents for voicing their opinions, noting council was never opposed to composting, which is why they put the bins at the recycling centre.
“We were just trying to keep costs down,” he said.