Sunday, November 15, 2009

Jolly Green Giant

Will the jolly giant occupying the Mayor's Chair turn green? If so, what algorithm will be applied to cover the blue box program cost. We have six councillors committed to no tax increases beyond the rate of inflation - the majority vote. During the election campaign we heard the cost was frightful. Will the money come from layoffs at the landfill? Will Sarcan and Cosmo survive? What about the young entrepreneurs who started the blue box program a few years back? Will this be a contracted out service? Will we pay for each bag of garbage disposed to the landfill?

I suspect if the His Worship turns green it won't be a environmental green, but the kind that would call for medical assistance.


  1. Unsubstantiated numbers red herring arguements have been flying around ever since the last City Council unanimously voted in favour of the Waste and Recycling Plan two years. If you read the plan the only reccomendation for recycling presented was a curbside program.

    Curbside will cost $30 per household per month. Curbside will put "SARCAN and COSMO on the street". The landfill has 25 years of life left. Saskatoon is too small for a curbside program, just to hilight a few of the statements being thrown around.

    If a private company can collect from 5,000 odd households at $15 per month - how could it cost $30 for the city to do 10X that amount?

    Last time I checked nobody was suggesting Cosmo, SARCAN, or Saskatoon Curbside should be put out of buisness - any city-wide program must/will have all three involved.

    The landfill has 12 years of life left, at our current rate of waste diversion (19%). Many city's are closing in on 60% plus diversion.

    There are city's in Canada of 50,000 residents with full fledged recycling/composting programs - Saskatoon has roughly 220,000 residents.

    Fortunately our Administration understands that there is a cost to not recycling or composting on a city-wide scale. A conservative estimate of $75 million to build a new landfill is a start. But they were kind to leave out the cost of closing and maintaining the current landfill, and the even bigger problem of where exactly would a new landfill go (ask Edmonton how that process worked for them recently)?

    I'm all for a debate on the merits of recycling/composting. Ultimately it should be up to the public to decide if it is worth the cost - but let's at least start with getting our facts straight.

  2. pardon the spelling mistakes! hadn't had my daily shot of caffeine yet!

  3. Sean S. I agree people need to look at the overall costs of such a program and I am all for that. My concern is that in doing so the powers that be will say they need more money to implement any plan. Also this thought that somehow recycling will save us from needing a new landfill is bogus it extends the life not saves it. Ultimately we will need a new landfill and at what cost. You say council will work with the "existing" groups doing recycling... What about any "new" business? If the city brings in mandatory recycling I want my shot at that gold mine. Just as all those hands free devices people are now mandated to use. When governments make these laws they open up a substantial new market. Oh and how does anyone come up with more costs for the city to do it albeit the private sector......ever seen 5 city workers standing around while one guy does the work??? I have.

  4. The reason it will be costly will be because of the union labour. And anytime government gets involved, costs get jacked up. I am totally expecting garbage collection to not only get screwed up by council (like the whole front-lane garbage pickup fiasco of last year), but that it will end up angering many and cost us all a lot more.

    But I'm not really sure *why* this is such an issue. I have a compost bin in the backyard and most yard/kitchen waste goes into it except for really fibrous material. I recycle all my cans, cardboard and drink containers. All that I'm really throwing out is plastic containers and, weirdly, glass containers like pickle jars that no one seems to recycle. If *all* households did the same, we probably wouldn't need a recycling program at all. It takes very little effort on my part and I throw out very little.

  5. Sean - I think you are missing more than morning caffeine. I asked questions - did not spew facts. Come to think of it you are the only one with "facts" and quite frankly I truly do not understand what you are saying. In one sentence you state the landfill has 25 years left and in another you state 12 years. Are you suggesting that the city contract out curbside service at $30.00 per houshold? I assume you understand that would bhe $30.00 a month.

  6. What on earth are you talking about, Civicmistress? Indeed, there was a 12/25 year error in Sean S's post, but it was otherwise thoughtful.

    Compare his post to your initial post - yours looks like it was typed out while you sat on the toilet this morning (with a similar output).

    You then proceed to again madly throw around scare tactic numbers with no substantive debate. It's no wonder you're no longer on council...

    This blog is the parade of morons and you're the grand marshall.

  7. Interesting comments. Presumably you are NDP because only they could consider asking questions as being scare tactics. When someone gives a number that is a 100% in error and states it as fact I am skepitcal of the other facts given.

    As for the parade of morons I'm sure Sean is as happy as I that you have joined the cyper jaunt.

  8. Sorry CivicMistress - I don't think the intent of my post came across very well. I wasn't suggesting that you were presenting misleading information, instead I was pointing to some of the commetns from our current council over the past couple of months (trying hard not to name names).

    The first part of my original post was pointing out the misleading information that has been flying around, the second part presented the facts that contridict those mis-nomers.

    To clarify, we have heard the following (with the "facts" in brackets):

    1. The landfill has 25 years left of life (infact the lifespan is 12 yrs at current diversion rates).

    2. Curbside will cost $30 per household per month (nobody has ever backed that up with real numbers - I pointed out SCR charges just over $15 per month per household and only serves about 5,000 households).

    3. We are too small of a city for a curbside program (there are many cities well under 100,000 who have curbside and composting programs).

    4. A curbside program will put SARCAN/COSMO/SCR on the street (again, a red herring arguement - Administration is attempting to bring all 3 to the table and frankly needs to since these organizations/companies have stepped in to a void left by the city)

    Anon @ 3:44pm - Why so hostile? I don't see anything wrong with anything CivicMistress has asked and on second read my original post was a bit confusing so I can't blame her for being skeptical.

    They are all valid questions and ones that our council will have to address as curbside composting and recycling come before them in the coming months/years.

  9. Shocking the Mayor now supports something he was against during the election. Kind of like everything he attempts to take credit for. First he is against it and then he attempts to take full credit.

  10. what is really shocking is that if a politician of any stripe, at any level of government is against anything and does not listen to opposing views they are close minded, bigots etc. if they do consider anothers view are they considered open minded? Oh no, they are now opportunist! Come on folks the election is really over and old news you can't ask those elected to listen and learn from the election and then chastise them when they attempt to do just that.


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