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Resident caught in tandem-axle dilemma at Salmon Arm landfill

Darren Landy argues larger single-axle trailers loaded with yard waste are being dumped for free
Darren Landy stands next to his six-by-10-foot trailer that he uses to haul yard waste to the Columbia Shuswap Regional District landfill in Salmon Arm. Because the trailer is tandem axle, he is charged for disposal. There is no fee for yard waste dropped off by car or single-axle trailers. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Darren Landy feels put out at the Salmon Arm landfill when he has to pay to dump his yard waste and the person behind him with a larger load gets to drop it off for free.

Suffering from hip issues, the Salmon Arm resident said last year he bought a six-by-10-foot tandem-axle dump trailer that he could use so he didn’t have to climb up into the back of his truck. He uses the trailer to haul yard waste to the local landfill, operated by the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD).

Prior to March, yard waste could be dumped for free at the landfill. However, since March 1, the free service has only been available for yard waste delivered in cars, pickups and single-axle trailers. Those delivering yard waste to the landfill by tandem-axle vehicle, like a dump truck or bin truck, or on a tandem-axle, have had to pay a disposal fee.

Landy isn’t opposed to paying a flat fee, but he objects to being charged for dumping a load of yard waste when others with larger loads on single axle trailers continue to do the same for free.

“I’m not trying to get a commercial guy in trouble, but there’s signage on all these trucks… and they’ve got a 12-foot by six-foot single axle trailer loaded to the brim…,” said Landy. “I thought, here’s a commercial guy doing this for a living and I’m out here cleaning up the yard. I probably had half the load he did…”

CSRD Environmental Health Services team leader Ben Van Nostrand said he’s heard similar comments shared by landfill attendants.

Read more: Large trucks full of yard waste will be charged at CSRD landfills

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“Unfortunately, some are caught in that… and we just can’t make a whole bunch of exceptions,” said Van Nostrand. “It just makes it all very complicated when we’re dealing with it up at the site.”

Van Nostrand explained the March 1 transition was done in response to commercial vehicles “slamming our sites with yard and garden waste for free, and that’s not really what we had envisioned when we talked about yard waste for the public.”

Van Nostrand explained CSRD staff wrestled with how to address this, and put in place a system that doesn’t put the onus on landfill attendants to determine which is a residential load and which is a commercial load.

“Essentially, we just landed on the idea that typically, dual-axle trailers or vehicles are fairly large, and support larger amounts of weight because of two axles,” said Van Nostrand. “We felt that was appropriate, and it takes the pressure off the attendant.”

Van Nostrand noted that last year, it cost the CSRD just over $100,000 to process yard and garden waste dropped off at the landfill.

“It’s not free, and that’s covered through taxes,” said Van Nostrand. “So the tipping fees will help to offset the cost associated with delivering that service.”

Landy feels the current system needs work, or at least a different way of assessing loads.

“It just seems very one-sided,” said Landy. “It’s easy to say you’re a tandem-axle trailer but come on, we all have a brain and you can see a small trailer compared to a big trailer.”
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Lachlan Labere

About the Author: Lachlan Labere

Editor, Salmon Arm Observer
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