Fort St. John moves to weekly garbage collection

Fort St. John city council voted Monday to move to weekly garbage collection during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It's very proactive and I'm quite happy to see this come so early in the game," said Coun. Trevor Bolin.

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Victor Shopland, the city's general manager of integrated services, says there are concerns the city's recycling stream may become even more contaminated with garbage during the pandemic.

Because solid waste and recycling have both been listed as essential services during the pandemic, the recycling depot must remain open. But garbage has long been a problem in the city's recycling stream, and there is concern for the health and safety of workers who would have to handle the increase in contaminated materials, Shopland said.

"With the COVID-19 pandemic, people are home more, changing their dining habits, eating mostly at home through more take out orders or cooking at home because of the closure of dining rooms in restaurants," he wrote in a report to council.

"This may result in more contamination in the recycling stream as peoples garbage bin fills up and they use the recycle bin to get rid of garbage."

The increased cost of collection would be $147,000 over the next seven months until Oct. 31, to be paid from the Solid Waste Reserve Fund.

Recycling will still be collected bi-weekly.

Mayor Lori Ackerman said council will review the weekly garbage collection at the end of October and move forward from there.

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at editor@ahnfsj.ca.

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