January 22nd, 2021

Change to front street garbage collection questioned

By Letter to the Editor on August 8, 2020.

Re: Garbage/recycling collection, cart placement changes.

Reasons? Much safer way to service your garbage cart? Safer for whom? The vehicles parked on the street? Auto repairs will cost more than fence repairs.

Weather conditions, parking issues and other objects in back alleys can make lanes dangerous or even impassable? It snows in back alleys and the street equally. Front streets are sometimes plowed to make a windrow against the sidewalk, making it difficult or impossible to put the cart on the street.

Some? Streets are also a lot wider than back alleys and less awkward for large garbage trucks to manoeuvre in? Some you need to be one way only. Also some of the earlier areas where parking of large half tons was not anticipated.

Front collection keeps alleys intact and prevents damage that can be caused by our heavy garbage trucks? Currently the heavy traffic – moving trucks, furniture delivery trucks, regular delivery trucks – utilize the front street and garbage trucks and landscape trucks use the back alley. This divides the heavy loads and should allow longer life for both surfaces.

Front collection encourages residents to take their cart back onto their property. This is a requirement in our waste bylaw and helps keep our city safe and clean. Bylaws also refer to back alleys and the requirement to move items onto your property.

Front collection creates operational efficiencies (i.e. faster collection, less backing up and turning around, less navigating in tight areas and around fences, allowing us to ensure we get all the garbage collected in a week that needs to be collected. Causing operational inefficiencies to traffic, drive in and back out of cul-de-sacs because of the vehicles, having to drive around carts or move carts, to get around them on narrow streets or having to get out of the truck and move carts. The free-flowing wind on the roads where there are no cars and the carts just blow away dumping their load.

For over 100 years alley pickup was an acceptable form of garbage collection.

Perhaps a simpler change would be much more efficient, just require all carts in the alleys be on the one side. This would enable a single pass down the alley rather than having to turn around. This option is not possible where there is no alley and would prevent parking at all on that side of a side street.

Frederick Ross


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Citi Zen

You’re bang on right Frederick. Garbage has been collected in my alley for 75+ years with absolutely no issues. Vehicle parking in alleys had always been prohibited, so that’s not a problem. We didn’t have issues with wind-blown bins spilling trash all around. We didn’t have issues struggling with a monster bin through snow, down steep inclines, and through gates.
Garbage bins on the front streets are making Lethbridge look like a slum city.
As for getting stuck in winter ( I’ve never witnessed this) , these multi-wheel drive behemoths are most unlikely to be stopped. And some residents even waited for garbage day so the truck would pack down a path to get their small car out of the garage.
This move to front pick up was made by a bureaucrat in City Hall, who is now trying to justify his job. And that’s what this is all about, nothing to do with heavy trucks, safety, or anything else.
It is once again time for some common sense decisions to be coming from City Hall.


common sense letter hits bullseye. as has become all too usual, city hall would be utterly useless were it not for the fact it adversely impacts us in the final analysis.


Excellent letter Mr. Ross! I sometimes wonder who the decision makers listen to at city hall it’s certainly not us. I previously lived in the London road area and absolutely the garbage truck drivers had their hands full in the narrow and unpaved back alleys. I now live on the north side with a 25 foot wide paved alley and the drivers should not have any issue in navigating them. During the last month of front pickup I have had my cart tipped over onto the sidewalk or street or moved in front of my driveway because street parking is at a premium Went down a north side street last Friday and 1/2 the carts were still on the street? Doesn’t look like some people are wheeling them back to their property. I talked to one of the managers at waste and recycling a few years ago and they told me it was never going to happen to alleys that were wide. He explaned to me the safety issues with narrow alleys and the short wheel base trucks that were necessary to service these properties. What has changed? I completed the city survey online and let them know my opinion if thats going to make any difference. This new policy is right up there with making 13 Street one lane only.

Citi Zen

If this does indeed have to do with the larger and longer wheelbase trucks, perhaps the city bureaucrats should have purchased trucks that are compatible with the city’s existing infrastructure, rather than essentially modifying the infrastructure to suit the new trucks. It still all points to mistakes made in City Hall, and someone trying to justify his job.
And on the issue of 13th street, are they taking it down to one lane to make room for garbage bins? Secret agenda?


It’s all about the money. With the bin trucks they can do do twice the amount of pickups with 1/2 the manpower. The problem came when the trucks they purchased couldn’t make the corners in the alleys, so they bought “modified” trucks with shorter wheelbase but same size container. When they got full the weight was behind the back axles and the steering starts to float. A valid safety issue, but that shouldn’t effect citizens with adequate alleys. I say “citizens” instead of clients because that is what the city has come to think of us… as clients. After all the responsibility you have towards clients is enormously different than citizens, isn’t it?
Which brings me to the crux of the issue. Who runs this city? Is it the mayor and council? Or as I have come to believe it’s department heads. If you look at some of the decisions made it will become clear who’s running the show. I invite anyone who has an issue to approach a council member and see what response you get.

Citi Zen

If the truck becomes unsafe , as in the steering becomes vague, then they are overloading it beyond what it is legally rated for. No manufacturer builds an unsafe truck. It’s one thing to save money, but at what cost to the “population”? And when are those savings passed on to us?

As to who runs the city, similar issues were happening in Calgary, until a whole bunch of managers were fired. By the then newly elected Mayor and Council. Hint, hint….


I will give you a example of what type of Councilors we have and how they lose control ,the supposed Waste bylaw # 6146 merger of waste & recycle, waste management requested a rate increase from $13.60 to $20.60 Waste collection large cart deposit revenue from curbside recycle collection in waste collection fund and wiped out many recycle terms, the council designated authority to the “Engineer” guess who of course Mr. Hawkins, Director of Infrastructure who designates where the carts will be placed and all terms of the bylaw Council has no say they will tell you you will lose your complaint they cannot participate like they told us. The only authority Council has is to approve rates and the bylaw. Some governance.


I caught that too Snowmen. Its all smoke and mirrors when you deal with city hall. I first took notice of it when the city used “our” money to build the new city hall and charged interest on it and then the ABCP “situation” in 2007-2008 and as far as I am concerned the administrations attempt to hide it only heightened it.
I dealt with the permitting department during that time about new houses that were being built by my house that were breaking numerous density and building setbacks. The London Road association and neighbours filed appeals. We won. I gained some respect from councillor Mauro during that appeal as the developer told the commision he’d build whatever he wanted and Mauro shut him down.Then the developer went back to the city and got them to change the density and grant waivers. Problem solved, right?
The cities departments are called business units and I can see why. Yes, the city needs to collect revenue to provide service. But I think city hall has started to operate mainly to collect money “then” provide service. I wouldnt trust them as far as i could throw them.

Citi Zen

Having been somewhat involved in the 16th Ave “Big House” battle with the City some years back, I can tell you that it’s apalling the lengths that City Hall will go to to keep their jobs. Lies, deceit, and deals made behind closed doors.
The present methods of doing business in City Hall is not working in the favour of the “popultion”. But who is going to fix it??