Nelson is adjusting some of its garbage routes beginning in December.
All collection from narrow and difficult to navigate alleyways will be moved to a Monday pickup time, allowing crews to use a smaller truck to reach all those locations on the same day. As well, a few route boundaries will be adjusted to even out the number of stops each day and take into account new developments. Affected households will receive notice of the change by mail in early November.
“This is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time. It’s going to make the routes safer and more efficient, particularly in the wintertime when there tends to be added challenges with navigating the snow,” explained public works supervisor Karen MacDonald.
There’s just two guys who collect all the City’s curbside garbage. The routes include stops at 700 homes and lifting three to four tons of garbage over the course of their shift.
Greg Kilpatrick has been doing the job for four years and Alex Vermaat has been at it for three.
“We need to work fast. There’s some days we barely finish our route on time,” Vermaat said.
Changing the routes will make things a little easier for the guys. The new routes allow them to cover ground more efficiently, without doubling back through areas.
The public also plays in making sure garbage collection runs smoothly.
“If people are overloading their garbage bins or using those heavy bear-proof bins, that weigh 20 pounds empty, that’s going to slow us down,” said Kilpatrick.
City bylaws outline the allowable size for garbage bags or containers, but Kilpatrick says many homes try to stretch the limits.
“I don’t know if they realize we have to actually be able to lift the bin to empty it,” he said. “If their bin is so big that it has wheels to get it to the curb, we’re going to have trouble with it.”
While they don’t go around with a measuring tape to make sure bins and bags aren’t oversize, they do have a hook scale to check bags that feel like they’re pushing the 50 pound weight limit. If something is too heavy, they leave it at curb with a sticker to let the homeowner know why.
They’ll also leave behind blue bags that contain glass, styrofoam or other items the recycling program doesn’t accept.
“A lot of people try to recycle used Kleenex, which is not only not recyclable but pretty gross for the people who have to sort it out,” Vermaat points out.
Information on Nelson’s curbside garbage and recycling program, including what’s acceptable to dispose of, is available on the City’s website.