January 20th, 2021

Council to study possible exemptions to recycling bylaw for condos

By Jensen, Randy on September 23, 2020.

Tim Kalinowski

Lethbridge Herald


Lethbridge City Council unanimously approved a motion for City staff to bring back possible changes to the residential recycling bylaw which would exempt large, “high density” condos over 45 units from mandatory participation in the City-run blue bin program as long as they have a private recycling plan in place which meets or exceeds City standards.

The motion was sponsored by Coun. Blaine Hyggen and will return to city council for decision before the end of the year.

The potential exemption follows last week’s Community Issues Committee meeting when an ad hoc group representing about 10 local large condo boards told councillors their current recycling programs, sorted by volunteers, collected by local private waste-recycling companies, and processed by privately run materials recovery facilities, are far cheaper for residents of the condos than the City-run program would be if imposed.

Representatives of the condo boards also argued because of the difficulties associated with waste collection in these high-density condos previous city councils had allowed them to be considered commercial in terms of garbage collection, and, they said, this city council should follow suit and allow them to also be deemed commercial for recycling purposes.

Mayor Chris Spearman said the decision for staff to bring back a reworded recycling bylaw which exempts large condos from mandatory residential blue bin program would allow more research to be done on the issue. It would also allow time for Waste and Recycling Services to come back with a revised draft budget which would show how they would make up the anticipated $150,000 shortfall in the residential recycling program this exemption would cost should it ultimately be approved by council.

“The big decision will be made sometime prior to Christmas at one of the city council meetings,” Spearman stressed. “So, at this point, we really didn’t make a decision. We just supported the request to get more information back from administration as part of a bylaw.”

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