The results of a recent survey have determined Port Hardy will not receive extra garbage pick ups in the summer months.
On Sept. 29, the District of Port Hardy announced on social media it will not be implementing extra garbage pick ups as the survey responses were not “great enough to impose a financial obligation on the whole community.”
The survey asking residents if they would be in favour of additional garbage pick-ups ran this summer from June until August.
“It was complaint driven and out of the fact that we are wanting to become a bear aware community,” said Port Hardy’s Chief Administrative Officer Allison McCarrick.
Recycling and garbage pickups have been on alternate weeks in the district since 2014, when curbside recycling for single-family residential dwellings came into effect.
When the district started looking at becoming a Bear Smart community, concerns were raised over garbage becoming a bear and wildlife attractant in the summer months, as residents would be storing garbage for two-week periods.
Additional garbage pick-up during bear season, which is May 1 – Sept. 30, would cost an extra $24.00 annually per dwelling.
“The committee felt there wasn’t strong enough response,” said McCarrick, referring to the Parks and Operational committee.
According to a report released by the district, while 71 per cent of respondents wanted to take advantage of an extra garbage service, only 63 per cent were willing to pay an additional $24.00.
“They didn’t feel comfortable enough to make everyone pay for a service when it was only 63 percent who wanted it,” said McCarrick, who added they had “616 responses for the multiplex survey, and we felt this was also a really big issue and thought we would have gotten a much bigger response back.”
The district received 259 responses (including 152 from Facebook) and 47 returned paper surveys.
“I think we were happy about the response,” said McCarrick. “It seems like people wanted it out of the ones that did ask for it, but we would be charging everyone who gets residential pick up that extra money – so everybody would be charged for that – we had 259 responses, and relative to the number of people who would be charged for it, the response wasn’t great enough.”
McCarrick added the committee felt there wasn’t enough awareness about the district’s bag-and-tag program, which allows residents to purchase a tag for $2.25 that allows additional bags to be picked up during their garbage days.
The extra tags are available at the District of Port Hardy and Fox’s Disposal.
“The tag-a-bag program allows people to get rid of it, but it doesn’t help with the storage issue for a two-week period,” acknowledged McCarrick, adding the district is “just trying to make it fair for everyone and that is what the committee is looking for.”
She noted they intend to do an additional survey to get more feedback from the community in the future.
“I think it is great that the public is getting involved in our surveys and we appreciate their feedback – the good the bad and ugly, that is how we learn,” said McCarrick.