City says pay for your own recycling carts when they’re damaged

The City of Dawson Creek says you can pay for your own recycling cart if it is stolen.

At Monday’s city council meeting, staff presented Dawson Creek council with a bylaw amendment that would allow the City to replace damaged or stolen recycling carts at no cost to the resident.

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However, in the end, council instead voted for a motion that only replaces carts at no cost if the City or waste collection contractor damages them, or were defective from the get-go.

The amendment proposal was in response to a letter received by council in January by a resident on 108th Avenue, who, along with their neighbours, had their cart damaged by a vehicle in the middle of the night. They were on the hook for the about $120 replacement fee and had asked council to reconsider it.

“I believe the city should have insurance or built in costs for this type of unfortunate action,” Sharon Napier wrote.

Council at the time had asked staff to look into a bylaw amendment that would allow the City to do this.

In a report to council, staff noted that replacing carts in response to vandalism and other acts for free is rather common, having received responses from 17 municipalities consulted on the issue.

“More than half of the municipalities provide replacement carts at no cost to the property owner regardless of the circumstances as long as the owner did not cause the damage, three municipalities provide them at no cost to the property owner only if the damage is caused by the City or Collector, one municipality provides them free of charge if damage is caused by a driver or a bear and one municipality will provide them only if they are stolen,” wrote Deputy Corporate Officer Cindy Fisher.

The proposed amendment included stipulations that the resident file a police report and that the resident only place their cart out between 5 am and 7 pm the day of collection.

Councillor Charlie Parslow noted that if they were to enact this amendment, he would expect random spot checking by bylaw enforcement officers to enforce the time restriction, to which CAO Duncan Redfearn noted they would not.

Other councillors balked at the proposed timeframe, noting some leave for work earlier than 5 am.

Council ultimately did not follow through with the amendment.

Councillor Paul Gevatkoff, who was opposed in February when council initially discussed the letter, motioned instead for the City to replace carts at no cost only for ones damaged by City, the waste collectors, or were defective — which “basically leaves [the bylaw] as is.”

“If somebody damages my fence, do I go to the City to have them pay?”

Council voted in favour of the motion, with Mayor Dale Bumstead the only vote opposed. 

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