Chris McKenna, director of operations and property services for the Town of Ponoka speaks with resident Holly Sheppard May 10 during a waste management open house. Photo by Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

Bringing composting to Ponoka is a simple step

For $2 extra per month, Ponoka residents can see compost collections

Getting compost services in Ponoka is a lot easier than was initially believed.

When the town switched to the current waste management services with Green For Life (GFL), the former administration told residents composting services would not be affordable. The argument to residents at the time was that building a compost site at the town’s landfill would take engineering and regulatory approvals.

No one mentioned using GFL’s compost facility.

According to Chris McKenna, director of operations and property services, it’s just a matter of signing up for the program.

“If we go with a full, organic green program, it’s going to be about an extra $2 per month per household,” said McKenna.

Along with grass clippings in the green carts, residents will be able to minimize their garbage by putting in meat, vegetables, egg shells, plus they will be able to put in pizza boxes that have some food on them or items such as Kleenex or paper towels.

“And that will all be diverted from our landfill,” said McKenna.

This information contrasts with what previous administration told residents, however, McKenna, and top administration did not work for the town at that time. McKenna said he tried to speak with every single person that came to the open house and when he mentioned the composting service, he said the majority of people spoke in favour of it.

“I’ve had a few people say, ‘I need weekly pick up.’ And then I tell them about this and they say, ‘Whoa, sign me up,’” explained McKenna.

Composting services was one of the ideas that residents said they would like the town to adopt during a recent Ponoka News web poll.

The goal of the open house was intended to hear from residents. The town’s current contract with GFL is set to expire in December and the hope is to find ways to improve it based on residents wants and needs.

“It’s definitely going to be in my report that I recommend this (composting) in my tender,” explained McKenna.

He added that if there’s overwhelming support for compost services to be implemented sooner than December, that he would attempt to set it up.

When asked about the question of weekly garbage collection without raising the cost, McKenna said there is some potential to change the way garbage and grass clippings are collected. That being said, according to McKenna it appears residents would prefer to keep the collections as they are as long as the compost program is implemented.

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