“The issues surrounding multi-family projects are going to be much greater than around single-family projects,” said Ron Olson, owner of Boychuk Homes and a longtime advocate for condo owners.
Olson said there will be resistance from condominium and townhouse complexes where there is a limited amount of space for recycling bins, carts or waste containers and little access for garbage trucks.
“There’s the potential for a lot of problems,” he said.
On Monday, council agreed to enter negotiations with non-profit Cosmopolitan Industries Ltd. to be the processor of materials from a city program for multi-family units.
The agreement will cover those complexes “not under contract with other waste haulers.” City administration is reporting to council May 28 on a memorandum of understanding with Cosmo and will include options for how a recycling program for multi-units could work, the timing and if it will be citywide or voluntary.
“We’re still working through what those options would look like,” said Brenda Wallace, the city’s environmental services manager. “The one thing we do know is serving multi-unit dwellings is very different because of the orientation of the properties.”
A multi-unit program has the potential to bump up the city’s waste diversion rate, which sits at 23 per cent. Currently, there is a low level of recycling among apartment and townhouse dwellers, home to about 25 per cent of Saskatoon’s residents.
Tenants have easy access to garbage chutes but little in the way of recycling.
Vic Karwacki, chair of the Saskatoon Condominium Owners’ Association, said the key is to make a multi-family program equal to the residential program. He said price and service levels should, on principle, be equal to that provided by Loraas Recycle, which is in negotiations with city hall on a citywide residential program at $4 to $5 per house per month.
“I hope our fee wouldn’t be higher,” Karwacki said. “I want the same treatment that the guy gets across the street.”
David McIlveen, director of community development for Boardwalk Rental Communities, said the company does not have a recycling program in place, but is looking to install one across the country.
Boardwalk has 2,600 units in Saskatoon, roughly 10 per cent of the multi-family stock. The difficulty is finding the space for containers, he said. Providing individual recycling bins “clogs up the hallway,” he said.
“Recycling wasn’t really contemplated in the 1960s and 1970s, so there are constraints,” he said. “But it’s on our radar screen. People want it and we want to figure it out. We’d like to be part of the process.”
Coun. Mairin Loewen said citywide multi-family recycling has long been in Saskatoon’s plans, but details of a program are now on the fast-track because of the agreement with Cosmo. The implementation of a program will take time, Loewen said.
“The challenge for us going forward is finding a way to make the co-operative solution we reached (with Cosmo) operational for the city and for people living in multi-family units,” Loewen said. “What I will be looking for is to ensure this program runs smoothly, and the customer service and quality of the service provided is equal to the service provided to single-family homes.”
Source: The StarPhoenix
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