By Theresa Ketterling
The Halifax regional council voted last Tuesday to cancel a public hearing regarding proposed garbage bylaw.
The bylaw would lower the number of garbage bags per household from six to four, and require that all but one of the bags be clear.
Council will instead proceed with education and public consultations.
Coun. Reg Rankin, who moved the motion to discontinue consideration of the bylaw, says he was troubled by the lack of consultation leading up to the hearing.
“I’d say there were probably a hundred letters, most of them saying ‘no.’ What I was hearing constantly was, ‘why haven’t you consulted with us?'”
Rankin says it was unclear who would be responsible for improperly sorted garbage under the new bylaw, “Will there be policemen out? If there’s going to be garbage that is mixed with organics and recyclables, whose fault is that going to be?”
Rankin says Halifax already diverts 60 per cent of its waste away from landfills, more than any other municipality in Nova Scotia. He says part of this success is due to the infrastructure Halifax has already built.
Maggy Burns, Internal Director of the Ecology Action Center, says the Center was “particularly disappointed” with the council’s decision.
“The statistic I’ve heard is that 30 per cent of what goes into people’s garbage bags could be either recycled or composted,” says Burns.
She says the council missed an opportunity to save money and to reduce the waste going to landfills.
Rankin says that he supports efforts to improve recycling rates, but he is not convinced of the need for tougher bylaws.
Coun. Reg Rankin talks about what HRM is doing better than other municipalities:
[audio:http://peninsula-news.kingsjournalism.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Ranking-clip-2.mp3|titles=Rankin Clip 2]