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Recycling letters ignite council comment

Letters are appreciated, but not empty rhetoric and exaggeration.

Letters are appreciated, but not empty rhetoric and exaggeration.

Salmon Arm council opened its mailbag last Monday to comment on two letters in particular relating to the city’s curbside garbage and recycling collection program. One was from Frank Woodward and the other from C. and F. Juell.

Coun. Ken Jamieson noted in these and other letters he’s found common themes that he said are important to recognize. One of those, Jamieson explained, is the difference in needs between urban and rural neighbourhoods. Regarding the rural, points raised included length of driveways and pests and animals. The second theme revolved around smaller complaints, such as desire to see glass dealt with and garbage can lids being returned after pickup.

“I would like council to have a good look at bylaw come July 1 and see if there are changes needed, major or otherwise – like we did with the pesticide bylaw,” said Jamieson. In reply, Mayor Marty Bootsma said this was an excellent suggestion and that council should do that.

While Jamieson refrained from specifically referencing the letters, Coun. Kevin Flynn was keen to comment on the letter from Woodward, stating that while he strongly disagreed with the letter, he did agree with one of the points raised, that retired, bed ridden or disabled taxpayers will find it difficult to have their garbage on the curb between 5:30 and 7 a.m.

“I really think we’re making a mistake with that one and I really think we have to allow people to put their garbage out the night before if that’s what they choose to do and if it gets broken it’s their responsibility to clean it up,” said Flynn.

Flynn was equally sensitive, however, to some of the language used to criticize council in both letters.

“I get a little tired of the words “draconian,” “dictators,” and “autocratic government,” said Flynn, arguing that the majority of residents are not opposed to the program.

“At worst, I’ve seen 30 letters, and I do appreciate those letters and I do think they’re valid, but hyperbole and rhetoric doesn’t work.”

Coun. Ivan Idzan picked up on a comment in one of the letters comparing the City of Terrace’s garbage program to Salmon Arms. Idzan said he looked at the Terrace bylaw and found they may have similar intentions but are not the same.

“We might adjust them at some point, but most of the systems… do have fines,” said Idzans. “But I expect they operate similar to our system where fines are not the first choice. It’s usually warnings and working with residents to educate them on how the system works.”

Bootsma added the city will not be enforcing fines in the first six months of the program, which began in the first week of January.