Port Alberni is going to lose its commercial garbage pickup service.
After years of debate and months of meetings, city councillors finally voted to stop commercial service.
The crux of the issue surrounded the truck the city is using to collect garbage from commercial businesses: it is starting to break down and will soon have to be put out to pasture. Council couldn’t decide whether to buy a new replacement truck or not.
After a tie vote last month, and pressure from Mayor Mike Ruttan for council to make a decision, Coun. Chris Alemany changed his stance.
“The existing vehicle, which is very old and not in very good shape could break down and cost us a tremendous amount of money to keep on the road,” Ruttan said.
The choice was made 4-2 when Alemany switched his vote and agreed to end the service. Coun. Jack McLeman did not take part in the discussion or vote due to a conflict of interest.
“The [city] engineer has indicated in his report that the city is the low-cost provider…we’re effectively keeping those rates down,” said Alemany.
“But all of that is the same as we’ve already heard. What I’m trying to do is look at it from a different perspective. We need a decision and if we as a city are serious about reducing our waste then we need to look at ways of reducing that stream.
“Maybe finding ways to do that won’t involve still buying large container trucks. Maybe that’s no longer something we should facilitate as a city.”
City staff will discontinue commercial container truck service in the coming months. It is expected that the three private haulers currently in the Alberni Valley will take on the city’s 214 commercial customers.