Citizens taking action ~ Vancouver, Lower Mainland, and beyond.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Looking behind the headlines

Garbage is in the news. Last week it was a ban on plastic bags (going to Council tomorrow). This morning we learn that downtown businesses are working with "binners" to get rid of messy dangerous dumpsters. And tonight at 6 pm Global BC news hour is going to take a close look into our garbage cans...

But the big story is that politicians on City Council are hinting that they might give Vancouver ratepayers their money back for services they didn't receive during the garbage strike.

Here's something to think about as you bank that $7.65 that represents the cost of hauling your garbage away for 10 weeks: this is about the price people were paying to have one bag of garbage hauled away by entrepreneurs last summer.

What does this tell us about the efficiency of our municipal garbage services ~ can you think of a better bargain than the garbage services we receive from our city? They take away anything we put into that black bin, week after week, no questions asked, at a rate that ranges from $1.44 to $2.88 a pick-up, depending on whether we use the mini can or the jumbo can that's 5 times bigger...

The question we might ask as citizens is: are these bargain rates for public garbage collection really serving the public interest? Who wins in the long run when it's cheap and convenient to throw things away?

Maybe politicians should be looking at a revenue neutral "tax shift." Raise the rates for garbage collection to discourage wasting... and then put the money into, say, keeping our libraries open longer?

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