Long delays in waste collection unexpected: works chair

[attach]6252[/attach]Public works chair Denzil Minnan-Wong says he wasn’t expecting such long delays and setbacks during the first week of private garbage collection.

“We thought there would be some growing pains,” he said Aug. 15. “In terms of the magnitude, I was a little surprised.”

During the first four days of service, waste collection provider Green For Life Environmental was consistently working hours past its 6 p.m. deadline. Uncompleted work spilled into the following days.

The first week, the city received over 1,000 calls for service requests, incomplete collections and missed collections.
A few days in, Green For Life Environmental was forced to haul out extra trucks as workdays turned into worknights.

Denzil Minnan-Wong said things have been operating more smoothly in Week 2 of collection.

The councillor said he recognizes the need for a period of adjustment, but didn’t rule out taking action if performance — specifically in regards to meeting the pickup deadline — doesn’t improve. Measures could include imposing fines on Green For Life Environmental for late pickup, as stipulated in their contract.

“We hope that we won’t have to do that, but come the beginning of September, if the performance hasn’t improved significantly from the first week, we’ll have to decide what we want to do.”

Green For Life CEO Patrick Dovigi also chalked up problems to growing pains, but downplayed the delays.

“The first week went as we expected with any normal start-up,” he said, adding crews were adjusting to new routes and new equipment.

The following Tuesday after the launch “we got them considerably earlier than the week prior,” Dovigi said, adding everything was off the street by 7:30 p.m. with the exception of some yard waste.

But the elbow room granted to Green For Life Environmental will only last so long, said Minnan-Wong.

“The patience of residents of District 2 is not infinite,” he said. “Excuses don’t milk the cows.”