Rimbey residents speak out against new rules regarding grass clippings

Council was taken to task Monday by residents who wanted some answers regarding the newly imposed rule regarding grass clippings.

Council was taken to task Monday by residents who wanted some answers regarding the newly imposed rule regarding grass clippings.

Earlier this spring, council announced residents would be asked to grasscyle their lawn clippings and to refrain from putting them in their garbage.

They were told grass clippings will not be picked up by the contractor nor will they be accepted at the recycle facility, although tree clippings and dry yard waste can be dropped off there all summer and will be burned in the approved pits.

The announcement caused dissention among several Rimbey residents, and the gallery, at Monday’s meeting, was full of disgruntled taxpayers.

Malcolm Turner, who moved to Rimbey when he retired from the oil patch, said he is very happy here and enjoys living in the community. He is not overly concerned about the new ruling regarding grass clippings as he mulches his grass.

However, he is concerned for others who do not have access to a mulcher.

“This is a town of elderly people,” he said.

Turner believes the un-mulched grass clippings and yard waste will become untidy and end up on the road.

Turner also questioned council as to why they sprung the decision to grasscycle on taxpayers at the last minute and did not give them ample warning.

Rimbey ratepayer Jan Boyarzin said she is frustrated with council’s decision regarding grass clippings and yard waste. She is worried about how she will get the yard waste to the recycle centre, herself.

“I’m very frustrated that we have to take it there ourselves,” she said. “I’m really annoyed that a service like that was taken away and yet council is willing to spend $5,000 on a midway for a weekend of fun.”

In her report to council acting CAO Donna Tona said it is illegal to collect and compost grass clippings unless they are pure grass and Rimbey’s collection, including grass clippings gathered last summer, was not pure.

She said that in the past, grass clippings were taken to the transfer station and dumped onto eight acres of land which is next to the municipal well, a county well and the town’s water supply.

“The transfer station attendant commented numerous times the bags were filled with dog and cat and rabbit excrement,” she said.

She said the former town administration had been told by Alberta Health that E-coli contamination was a concern.

However the concern was not addressed and the practice continued until council agreed to accept a recommendation from administration this winter during budget deliberations that the practice was not ap- propriate or cost effective.

Rimbey resident Gayle Rondeel, who was present at the council meeting, suggested moving the grass clippings to the airport.

“There are no water systems out there,” she said.

Mayor Rick Pankiw said that would be a cost prohibitive move. However, he did not rule out other possibilities.

“We are still looking at alternatives,” he said.