PoCo residents oppose reduced garbage pickup policy

Post by Daniel Fontaine in


Some Port Coquitlam residents fear Council's new limits on garbage pickup will bring out the worst in local vermin

It's not often that we take comments from our readers and turn them into posts, but we thought the following note sent to us from a couple of concerned Port Coquitlam residents deserved some special attention. It provides a contrary opinion to our recent post praising PoCo Council for their leadership on reducing waste production by limiting garbage pickup to only once every two weeks. What follows is a copy of letter from Lino & Julie Dalla Gassa.

We have been living in Port Coquitlam for 4 years and became very concerned when we learned that the City of Port Coquitlam will be making drastic changes to their garbage pickup. After reading the articles in The NOW & Tri City Newspaper, I am outraged that a decision of this magnitude would be made without the consultation of the residents.

The changes affect everyone in their everyday lives and therefore should be voted upon by the residents. We selected the city council to look out for our best interest, our community and our property values. That doesn’t include reducing public services and reducing the quality of life in Port Coquitlam.

As a family of four right now our garbage is filled to the top each and every week. Not only that but we find ourselves occasionally borrowing the extra garbage space of empty nesters, once it hits the streets.

We do our best to recycle and we believe in sustainability, but there are other ways to achieve this than reducing existing service. It seems that this decision is being made with the cities bottom line and not with sound reasoning or looking to other municipalities for their guidance and experience.

We understand that the coming legislation will be asking for businesses and public sectors to become carbon neutral and be giving out fines for those who can’t comply or reduce…. Please raise my taxes to cover this…don’t reduce the services that are being provided or put any of the residents health at risk.

I would be curious to know how many councillors have young children in their homes? If so, ask them how they would feel with keeping diapers in their garbage for two weeks. The City of Port Coquitlam is unique in its configuration with being next to the Fraser River and with the Coquitlam River running through it. This on its own can cause rodent and vermin to infest. What do you think will happen when the garbage sits in the bins “cooking” for two weeks (plus extra days for holidays) in the summer?

We have numerous families of raccoons who live nearby not to mention the occasional coyote and bear that passes through. The City of Port Coquitlam also is in a state of flux with younger families moving in. It seems to me that Port Coquitlam council is punishing families and rewarding baby boomers who now have empty nests. We are hoping that other residents will also write in and hopefully question the judgment of the present council making these changes without the consultation of the residents.


I am also a resident of Port Coquitlam and unlike the Dalla Gassa's, I fully support Port Coquitlam's plans to reduce garbage collection to a bi-weekly schedule.

A qualifier - I live in a townhouse complex that has private garbage collection so I am not directly affected by the city's plans.

The writers do raise some valid points about having to store garbage for an extra week when wildlife is a concern, but I just shook my head at their complaint about having too much garbage.

We are also a family of four (soon to be five) with two boys ages 18 months and 3 1/2 years so diapers are still regrettably a part of our garbage stream, however we routinely put out a 77 litre garbage can that is only 1/2 to 2/3rds full. The city supplied bin that the writers are routinely overflowing is a 240 litre monster!

In my townhouse complex we have access to the city's recycling program, but unlike single family dwellings, we don't have access to the green waste collection. Despite that my family's weekly garbage output is approximately 1/4 that of the writer's. I strongly suggest that the writer needs to look inside their own house before complaining about the city's strategy to reduce the amount of garbage produced by residents of Port Coquitlam.

Not only will the city's strategy hopefully reduce the volume of garbage produced by Port Coquitlam, it will also help reduce CO2 emissions as the city's fleet of trucks will not be on the road every week.

Down the road, Port Coquitlam taxpayers can hopefully look to smaller or no tax increases.

And as for the writer's garbage problem - if they can't reduce the amount of garbage they produce, they can always sign up for a larger bin (360L) or a second 240L bin - at an extra cost, of course.

Not feeling a lot of pity... 1) cloth diapers don't take up any garbage space. 2) have they tried composting their organic waste?

One of the benefits of reducing frequency of pick up is that people can see the ridiculous amounts of garbage they generate and be motivated to do better.

Or, you know, they can see the ridiculous amount of garbage they generate and then complain that it isn't being picked up fast enough.

Wonder which one is better for the future of the kids?

Wow! I know I'm writing a lot later than the original post but I just had to comment now that the new schedule is upon us. I have been part of a family of four in Port Coquitlam now for 10 years. I have never had any difficulty fitting my garbage into the bins provided. Recycling and green waste, yes, but not garbage. The Dalla Gassa's are a good example of people who simply want to throw things out and not think about the consequences. "Charge me more" they say, but unfortunately it is their children who will be paying the dearest. I for one applaud Port Coquitlam Council for taking such a bold step!

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