Officials from JRM Hauling and Recycling and the city's Department of Public Works were on-hand to field concerns about trash collection during Tuesday night's council meeting.
Councillor Jim Nestor, who initially proposed the discussion with JRM general manager Peter Gamache and DPW director Robert Knox in November, opened Tuesday's discussion by referencing over 560 resident complaints about trash service compiled in under the past five months.
Nestor asked Gamache for a “game plan” to decrease the problems reported by residents, including thrown or broken recycling bins, waste left in the streets and missed pickups of larger items. Other councillors reported receiving multiple complaints from residents, while some shared their own personal frustrations.
“This has been an ongoing problem,” Nestor said. “...What I see (happening) is, after the trucks roll through, there's recycling bins all over the place, there's trash and recycling left in them, they're all over the street...there seems to be some inconsistency here.”
Gamache said he would prefer there were no complaints about JRM's work, but felt the number was relatively low for a contract servicing over 12,000 homes a week. He told councillors about 150 of the complaints compiled by the city were not related to JRM's collection services, instead falling under the DPW's jursidiction.
“We've addressed the issue with our employees,” he told the council. “If we make a mess, we pick it up.”
Gamache blamed other factors – such as overstuffed containers and those rummaging for recyclables – for trash blowing around on the city's streets, noting workers often find streets strewn with trash before their arrival.
He also reiterated a previous invitation to councillors to accompany him and his crew on their morning collections.
Councillor Neil Kinnon called the problem a “50/50 proposition," noting the city could improve services on it's own end by offering larger recycling bins and by coordinating street cleanings to occur on the days following trash pickup.
“Something needs to improve on this, but we need to be realistic,” noting the complaints reflect only about .02% of the pickups performed. “...I don't think if you brought anyone else in you'd see anything different, unless we change the way we (do things).”
JRM signed a 20 year contract with the city in 2011.
What do you think about trash collection in the city? Have you ever had any problems? Any great experiences?