We Hear You. We Get it. We’re Working To Fix it! #Guelph Waste Drop-off Concerns!
I have been receiving many emails and calls lately regarding the delays experienced at the waste/yard-waste drop off area. I too have had to wait upwards of 30 minutes and I feel your pain. It should be a better experience and we’re making the changes to make it better. An email was sent to me a few days ago and I thought I’d share some key points from it here. I’d like to publicly thank staff for recognizing how quickly this needed to be addressed and thinking outside the box to find solutions to better serve you. I’d like to also thank you, the citizens and businesses, for your feedback and for your patience!
Here’s the info:
In response to a number of concerns raised by members of the public regarding issues being faced by them while dropping off their yard waste at the Waste Resource Innovation Centre (WRIC), the WRIC staff have made some recent changes to how the yard waste is accepted at WRIC.
To address the immediate needs and concerns of the citizens, the WRIC staff have instituted the following changes to the yard-waste drop off mechanism at WRIC. This was piloted on the week-end of April 23 and then again on the weekend of April 30.
On the week-end of 23rd-24th April, SWR started a pilot to reduce wait-times for yard drop off at the PDO. The program diverted garbage load carrying vehicles away from the scales through the gate designated for employees. The commercial scale was used as the inbound scales and the PDO scales as the outbound scales for grey waste. Further the yard waste carrying vehicles were routed through another gate and were not charged any fee for yard waste drop off. The intent was to continue this practice as a stop-gap measure till a detailed discussion with the Council regarding options and potential financial budgetary impact has been held and a decision reached.
To facilitate the yard waste drop off, Interim signage has been erected to reflect the change. Staff from MRF have been cross-trained to support Public Services scale-house and transfer station operational needs on weekends. Although numbers are not available, anecdotal evidence suggests that there were no, or very small, line-ups to the yard waste drop off and traffic moved smoothly, even though slowly.
The weekend of April 30th – May 1st, we implemented another process to improve garbage drop-off, yard-waste drop-off and traffic management. Residents with very small loads of garbage bags (1 to 4 bags) were pulled out of the line when a concern about potential back-up on Dunlop Drive was observed. Staff had tickets/receipts of $3.00 made up (which is the amount, based on experience, many residents end up paying for small garbage loads) and out-of-line customers were charged the fee of $3.00. During this past weekend, 50 tickets were issued during this “bypass” event that occurred between 1 PM and 2 PM. However, the yard-waste drop off still continued through a separate gate and was free for the drop off as in the previous week-end.
Approximately 540 yard waste cars, 700 cars carrying other waste and 150 cars carrying Household Hazardous Waste were logged in a day, although final data is still being compiled. From a process point of view, this worked out to be a good immediate solution to the garbage & yard waste drop off and traffic management issue while SWR works on intermediate and long-term solutions to the issue.
On financial side, the current budgetary allocation for yard waste was based on a charge of $60.00 per tonne of yard waste, with the first 50KG being free. This implied that each load carrying vehicle had to be weighed twice (once going in, and again going out) to determine the amount payable. This also resulted in huge line-ups causing hardships to especially those who are carrying very small loads of yard waste. Accepting yard-waste free of cost has a financial implication on the budget although from a process and traffic management point of view, it seems to be working well as an interim immediate solution to the concern expressed by the citizens. While we will continue the process in the interim, staff would need council direction for it to be implemented on a long term basis and will come up with a report and recommendations to the Council on this issue.
The current arrangement, although causing a negative impact on the SWR budget, will provide relief to the citizens of Guelph in the interim till such time a Council approved long term solution is put in place.