Monday, August 16, 2010

A Recycled Thought

Its good to be back in 'Toon, but in browsing the papers it seems that I left the bait in town along with some big fish.

Today's SP (Aug.16/10) deals with Council's ongoing dilemma with recycling. The report gives minuscule public feedback, and feedback given without full disclosure.

I would like to know the real cost of each option, not just guesstimates.

I would like to know how each household will be charged. Will it be a separate line on the tax bill and each household pays the same, or will it be added to the budget and those that already pay thousands in taxes will pick up another huge bite while the slum landlords pay nothing.

If each household pays the same, what impact will it have rental property costs and those on fixed incomes?

Where will the picked up recyclable products be taken for processing?

Will The service be contracted out?

How will Cosmo be involved? Sarcan?

If Council wants true public feedback on the issue should hold a referendum vote after disclosure all information. If anyone thinks the cost of a referendum vote is too great, comparatively speaking, it will be paltry. Better yet within about a year there may be openings for two city council positions and by-elections will have to be held. (This assumes that any Councillor elected to another office would be honourable enough to step down from council.) Surely it shouldn't take more than a year to gather information and distribute it to the tax base.

Does council really want public feedback?


  1. What is even more concerning is how the biased information collected via interest groups is being preached as evidence. They referenced the online survey that was conducted as an example of city's appetite for a program, however, I encourage anyone who hasn't to actually go through the survey. It is slanted towards the answers it wants from start to finish. There was no other possible outcome but the one that presented itself.

    Furthermore, (sorry Sean) Sean Shaw who is the biggest proponent behind such a program has been herding like minded people into completing the survey so really it is not a accurate sample of the city population.

    Finally, and maybe the most confusing thing to come out of this survey, is the fact that people would like to pay the city to operate a blue box system (like the one already being run), but they do not want to pay for the service that is already being offered. So am I to conclude that this service is only beneficial if it is the city running it? (likely at a much higher cost than is being run now). How can someone disagree with privately run recycling program yet be completely on board for a publicly run program? Exact same program! What this tells me is that this survey is not about the recycling program but more about creating data to support a claim the citizens want the city running the program. What a load of BS.

    Also Mistress, disclosure should include the city's plan for compensation to the entrepreneurs who have spent their last 5 years scraping to get by while establishing their blue box business only now to see various interest group move in and just want to put them out of business. I would hope that this company either receives a large (millions) settlement from the city or sues their ass.

  2. I wouldn't exactly call it herding. I posted a facebook event and asked people to fill out the survey, indicating that I thought option 4 was the best option. I sent that to 80 people. That event ended up having about 1,300 "attendees", and many more "not attending".

    As much as my ego would like to credit for the over 3,000 respondents to the online survey - it can't.

    Regardless of how people responded, when was the last time 500 people took part in any form of civic engagement, let alone 3,000? Dismiss the online poll results if you must, but 82% in favour of Option 4 out of 3,000 is pretty stark.

    Apart from the online survey - the telephone survey indicated 70% wanting change of some of the three options representing change, Option 4 had 43% and the current depot system had 22%....a 2:1 ratio from an age range heavily skewed to the 45+ crowd.

    I agree, the survey was convoluted and slanted but I bet we disagree on what options were set up to fail. Moreover, the actual "engagement" process leading up to the surveys was pitiful. Hopefully our city gets its act together for the Sept 8 & 9 open houses.

    Personally, I was shocked by the survey results. I expected them to be the other way around. Despite the vilification of curbside for the past 2 years, it still was the favourite choice.

    I agree with the Mistress - we need a breakdown of some firmer costs and cost benefits of the remaining three options. We need information how how that system will look and how will be run. Will it be public, private or PPP? In the end we need to pick the most cost effective avenue.

    Additionally, Cosmo, Sarcan, and SCR need to be engaged and provided to oppurtunity to be part of any new system - however, that system shouldn't be held back or have its effectiveness compromised to accomodate any of those stakeholders.

    Its only the beginning, and the city has about 4 months to figure it all out....

  3. Sean, I just finished completing the online survey -- three times. There is no mechanism to prevent multiple responses from the same person. I highly doubt that there were 3,000 respondents, and even if there were, the survey is about as statistically valid as an online newspaper poll.

    That said, I'm not at all surprised by the numbers in that "survey" to date. The most motivated proponents of the curbside program would obviously be the first people to react to the chance to voice their view, especially considering the lack of publicity toward the online poll prior to its news coverage.

    I suspect that with the above-the-fold SP story, residents who don't support curbside will now submit their own surveys now.

    I'm curious to see the final numbers, albeit more from a sociological point of a view than as an accurate reading of the will of the populace.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.