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LETTERS: Lifting the lid on White Rock’s multi-family trash/recycling collection



There is a line in one of Leonard Cohen’s more popular songs which goes:

And she shows you where to look

Among the garbage and the flowers

I’m sorting through a bit of this myself these days with the White Rock council’s recent decision to abandon the planned city management of waste collection for multi-family buildings and businesses. I expect at least some others are doing so as well.

Something just doesn’t smell quite right to me as I “lift the lid,” as it were, on this issue. First, there are economies of scale, enabling companies with more customers to provide products and services cheaper. Second, the bigger your bargaining power, the better and cheaper are the goods and services that can be procured.

In the case of White Rock, there is more power in bargaining for all multi-family buildings and businesses in our city than each individual building has, and the larger scale of providing that service to all would enable a company to do so more efficiently (i.e. cheaper and better). It’s a win-win, at least if the players are competent and acting in good faith.

Unfortunately, council has chosen lose-lose. Rather than having a bargaining block of all multi-family buildings and businesses, each must separately bargain with a provider, and waste management will continue to be carve up piecemeal among companies.

And what reasons are given? It’s too complex. There were inconsistencies in waste management among buildings … in 2015. We can’t figure out the costs.

The first two points can’t be denied, but the answer is to figure it out and set waste management rules. We’re all following such rules now anyway, although our private provider is not.

They regularly (several times a month) skip service to our building, are not opposed to dumping recycling and composting together, and are all but impossible to contact (They no longer have a phone number to call, and they do not respond to emails).

As for the cost, that’s to be negotiated, isn’t it?

Well, there’s the garbage part. I’m sure there are flowers somewhere. Regrettably, there is no Suzanne to show us. We must look for ourselves. What do you see?

Stephen Crozier, White Rock