October 21st, 2020

Not happy with City’s waste and recycling program

By Letter to the Editor on January 11, 2020.

This letter is in regard to the waste and recycling program (black and blue bins). As far as I’m concerned, it stinks and it is just another money grab for the City of Lethbridge.

Have the councillors who run this wonderful city of Lethbridge ever thought about using the system that they use in Calgary, which they call a user fee, and only charges the residents when they (City of Calgary) collect their waste or their recyclables. There are a lot of people, including me, who don’t always have enough waste every week; that goes for both bins. Also, there a lot of people in the city of Lethbridge who can’t afford being charged every week for little or no waste or recyclables.

There is a garbage truck that goes down my back lane every Thursday because of an apartment so why can’t they pick up ours also; the back lane can’t be any worse than it already is! I have a small car and have never got stuck, so what goes on here?

And another thing: people of Lethbridge pay very high taxes and they never got to vote on getting these blue bins or having their bins out at the curb on collection day. I think it unfair to just go and do whatever the city councillors desire without contacting the people who pay their wages.

Mabel Campbell


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First, Mabel, Calgary’s system is similar to ours with respect to user fees and pickup. That is, you can’t opt out, nor is it one charge per use.

Second, Mabel, there are only a few lanes that are inaccessible and require the move to the front. Maybe actually go talk to someone in the department who actually knows something, rather than getting riled by rumours.

Thirdly, we’ve had two election cycles in which waste management has been an issue. Where were you?


First: Calgary is trying an RFI program that will ID pick-ups and bill only for those days a pickup is made for any bin. This addresses the inequity of which Mabel writes
Second : Mabel is making the very point you are making. Her alley is accessible so she asks why is her pickup in front ?
Third: waste management has been an issue in 2 elections but has NEVER been the subject of a resident vote or referendum. Public opinion gathered in previous years showed little support but Council saw fit to bring a second council vote and initiate the program despite the consensus. Again, Mabel is right.

Perhaps before you attempt to stifle someone expressing their thoughts you may wish to examine your own and “…actually go talk to someone…who actually knows something”, as you so eloquently state.


Just Observing:

I don’t know of an ‘RFI’ program being piloted in Calgary. You’ll have to share the link to this as, it seems, the people I know in Calgary don’t know anything about it, either. It would be surprising that Calgary would reduce its revenues that will pay for the program.

Second, Mabel doesn’t seem to know if she will be affected by the alley or not. My suggesting is that she find out directly, rather than rely on previously unreliable comments to the Herald Commentary.

And, third, no there has not been a referendum, and nor did Mabel mention a referendum. There were two elections with members of Council being elected on their clear positions. My suggestion, as always, is if you want to influence the direction the city is going, then get involved in the planning stages (not whigne about it afterward).


JO- yes I did read from acouple of sources about a RFI program in Calgary. I’m not a secretary, so people can do their own homework. Just like Ms. Campbell, Just Observing, myself and others have done.
Alley or front pickup- conditions and situations vary. Good or bad,pros and cons, who knows? Long term residents and older neighborhoods have been setup for rear pickup for a very long time with fencing etc.
I believe curbside recycling/waste management came to a vote 3 times(3 separate occasions) in council chambers, until the votes came out the way ,some powers that be wanted. I prefer what British Columbia does,again do some homework if you want.
I’ve asked at city hall about where our plastic really goes.I’ve been told by the experts,”Oh, I’m sure they(who is they?)would make sure it went to the proper place”. No, point in asking further ,same vague answers. But perhaps,something has changed?


I believe there were more than 2 Council votes in the last 15 years on city-mandated recycling before Spearman jumped onboard and bullied it over the top. Council refused a plebiscite as you recall. And have become ever more embedded in the recycling dogma. The only way out is a new mayor. Good luck!


My memory of these Council votes include:

– one under Mayor Dodic, where curbside recycling was separated from the comprehensive waste management plan presented to Council, and then voted down. The logic, if I remember, was to wait and see how effective the three collection stations would be on their own.

-the second time this was brought before Council under Mayor Spearman (who ran on implementing curbside recycling as part of his platform) there was a split in Council as to whether to begin with the blue-bin or the green-bin – not whether or not to recycle or compost.

-the later and final decision of Council was to begin with the blue-bin and then the green-bin program (which has been recently deferred until after the next municipal election).

So, not exactly a vote-until-you-get-what-you-want scenario. And not bullying – but rather democracy at work. If he were to have bullied the process, we would have started with the green-bin program.

Correct me if I’m wrong.


Fescue : I understand your skepticism on any level of government doing something which returns money to the taxpayer once they have got their hands in your wallet. It seems this is palatable to the administration on the basis that rfi monitoring allows for some efficiencies in their collection operations as well, such as fuel savings by rescheduling pickup routes/times/etc. The issue of how much money drips down to the taxpayer is always open to question of course.
If you google ” Calgary considers rfi collection bin monitoring” our the like you will hit a page showing a number of municipalities/m.d’s using the program { Wood Buffalo. Nanimo, Okotoks, High River to name a few ]. It is something I think the City should look at – it will have costs, but they seem to have no problem spending to build recycling depots and processing centres .


Thank you, JustObserving. Here is a link to what you mentioned (https://livewirecalgary.com/2019/12/18/pilot-for-calgary-black-bin-use-takes-next-step-forward/). It will be interesting what Calgary discovers in the pilot.

Then we’ll have to put locks on our black bins to stop the neighbours from tossing their waste into our bins to save money …


The famous words of the Mayor “Why I voted against curbside recycling- costs etc” The crying into cameras by Councillor Mearns. After extreme pressure from local enviro,s Bradley and bunch the quick reversal “change of mind” Now the citizens are forced to pay for a stupid “empire” of $45 to $75. hour garbage elites who give you stupid decisions like move carts from back to front without proper citizen consultation. Spend $20 million plus for less than 4,000 tonnes of recyclables is this not stupidity