Harvey Smith, Winnipeg city councillor for Daniel McIntyre, declared the Garbage and Recycling Master Plan concerning for low-income Winnipeg residents and those on a pension at yesterday’s council meeting.
“I am concerned about people on low income being able to afford this, people on pensions,” Smith stated, the shake of his grasp evident as his coffee cup quivered.
He was referring to an additional $50 Winnipeg residents will begin to see on their water bills near the end of 2012; tax dollars that will help Winnipeg rise from its current 15% diversion rate.
Concern was also expressed by Mynarski councillor Ross Eadie, who disapproved of the sole dollar amount to be collected by all residents, regardless of income or garbage production levels.
“I cannot vote for this garbage plan if we do not do it in a fair way,” he noted minutes before the motion was passed.
Residents will receive bins for waste, and the plan orders a charge for bags additional to those inside on top that tagged to water bills. While well-intentioned, it remains questionable if the initiative will encourage a healthier environment through increased recycling or merely provoke residents to eliminate waste in a way that is harmful.
Lucy Morales-Katz, a Fort Rouge resident, is convinced the latter is underway.
“I believe the new plan will prove, for many people, to be more of an incentive to discard garbage illegally than to recycle.”
Charleswood resident Jennifer Harris agrees, even citing an example.
“There is a small field by Murray Avenue, north of Main Street; I’ve noticed a lot of people already dump their garbage there and I feel that this will only increase as people try to avoid paying extra.”
Many alternatives to the plan should have been considered, argued Harris’s husband, Kyle Harris.
“During fall and spring cleaning season, the city should create more places to drop off grass and leaves to be composted, rather than simply charging for extra bags of garbage.”
Jennifer Harris nodded her head in agreement and commented on the indiscriminate nature of a flat rate. She suggested census forms as an appropriate way to assign increases in tax dollars to individuals of varying income and garbage production levels.
“Census forms should be used to determine how many bins should be allotted to different households and the amount each household should have to pay.”