Port Coquitlam city council have made the tough (and smart) decision to reduce garbage collection
In a council meeting that ended at 10pm last night, Port Coquitlam city council approved the adoption of biweekly garbage collection beginning in January 2010. "Poco," one of Metro Vancouver's Tri-Cities, was the first city in Metro Vancouver to adopt automated garbage collection, and the containers scooped by trucks are now in wide use across the region.
There's no doubt that a lot of cranky people in the bedroom community of Port Coquitlam will be waking up to the news that their council has reduced collection to every two weeks, and will be phoning talk shows or sounding off in TV interviews about their "right" to weekly collection, and that "their taxes" should be paying for weekly tips of the bin.
To those folks we say, be thankful that you've got real leadership running your city. Vancouver is being reduced to green posing and symbolic gestures like a city hall community garden thanks to our publicity-loving mayor and council. Whereas Port Coquitlam are challenging their citizens to reduce waste, while saving precious tax dollars at the same time.
Poco (it's tough being nicknamed after a bad 1970s easy listening band) has been allowing fruit and vegetable waste to be added to their garden clippings container since the summer of 2008. And beginning in November, the city will be expanding kitchen waste to include meat and animal products like egg shells. While other cities are struggling to keep up, Poco are expanding their city's commitment to the Metro Vancouver "Zero Waste Challenge".
At our household, we've reduced our garbage to the point where we are most often rolling a half-empty container to the curb, and we will welcome the time when Vancouver finally follow suit. Cutting the garbage collection schedule in half is not even at the trial stage yet in BC's biggest city, while Poco has been testing it out for months.
While we're discussing Port Coquitlam, we should also acknowledge the great work the city has done with their website and online outreach. Unlike the clunky vancouver.ca site, portcoquitlam.ca has an easy to use navigation system, and email newsletter sign-up, Facebook and Twitter links to allow its citizens to stay plugged in to its city. We did note however that the site's search system is not working.
Mayor Greg Moore uses his city's website to full advantage by posting a blog. And while there is a cost to it, it's interesting to see that Poco city council is conducting some of their meetings outside council chambers. The next offsite meeting is taking place at a local high school.
We often focus on what the big cities are doing, when the real innovation sometimes happens in smaller jurisdictions. Today, we tip our hat to the City of Port Coquitlam for leading the way for Metro Vancouver on the matter of waste.
A special shout-out from everyone here at CityCaucus Tower to Poco city councillor Brad West, who was only one of four brave souls last summer to signed up for the CityCaucus.com Car-Free Week Civic Leaders Challenge.