Residents will see a new waste reduction program for the Town of Ponoka, however, it does not include any agreement with the Rising Sun Clubhouse.
There was no mention of the clubhouse in the town’s proposed waste management plan for 2016 to 2021, which was presented Monday, Sept. 21 during the regular meeting. Dave McPhee, director of operations and property services acknowledged that he did not include the clubhouse, which has been operating a curbside blue box recycle program for the last 18 years in Ponoka.
He added the goal is to ensure the town works a deal with the clubhouse. He added that the town did consult with Amanda Henderson-Kada, executive manager of the clubhouse, however, she disagreed with the manner of consultation.
She told council that a town employee spoke with her for less than 10 minutes about the program.
Mayor Rick Bonnett asked that the town give consideration to the clubhouse as it hires individuals who could not be employed in a normal work environment.
As for the plan itself, the goal is to consider door-to-door recycling and to divert waste into recoverable waste streams. In August a request for proposals was sent out seeking a curbside collection of waste and recyclables and Green For Life (GFL) was recommended as the most suitable candidate for a contract.
McPhee added it is a user pay system, which creates some responsibility for residents to ensure the proper materials are being recycled or sent to the landfill.
The downtown recycle centre would be removed with product being destined for the appropriate recycler or landfill. McPhee said no one is accepting glass for recycling right now and it is going into the landfill. With GFL there is a chance the glass could be stockpiled and recycled when there is a market for it.
“They have the space and time to do that, we don’t,” said McPhee.
Cost implications shows a potential surplus to the town as residents will pay for the curbside pickup. A cost comparison chart shows the town runs the current program at a deficit of $136,000. With the new plan, there would be an estimated surplus of $19,000 as the users will pay for the system.
Council considers implications for the clubhouse
Approving the request without adding the clubhouse hinged on a tight deadline and it was requested that council approve the plan at the same meeting.
McPhee said the town has a contract for waste management and had already extended several times, which is why he asked for the approval.
Coun. Loanna Gulka suggested the program will be a benefit to the community as she lived before in a municipality that had a waste management plan in place. She did suggest a partnership of some kind be created with the clubhouse.
When asked what she thought, Henderson-Kada said she did not believe the town will work with her considering the clubhouse wasn’t considered in the first place.
She suggested the conversation on the matter should have happened months ago and not when a decision was needed at a tight deadline. Her biggest concern is for the quality of life of the club’s members.
“It’s wonderful that you (Gulka) lived in a community that provided this service. We also for 18 years have provided this service in the community you live,” stated Henderson-Kada.
Council unanimously approved the proposed waste management plan with the condition the town make an agreement with the Rising Sun Clubhouse.
A second request was to award GFL the contract with the town, which was approved. Bonnett and councillors Carla Prediger and Teri Underhill voted against the motion.