According to City of Fernie staff, residents and visitors have been exercising poor waste removal habits this past winter, scattering waste outside of inaccessible garbage bins throughout Fernie.
During the Jan. 26 council meeting, the city discussed the garbage left near the waste removal bins around the dyke, noting that this is likely a response to the bins being inaccessible during the winter months.
“We either need to unzip tie and creatively work with leisure services to reinstate that garbage facility or perhaps, now that summer has happened again, we can unbolt it and remove it,” Coun. Ange Qualizza said of the garbage bins along the dyke. “I’m not saying anyone has the right to dump garbage. All I’m saying is I think that people are mad because they see it zip tied and that’s why they’re acting so poorly.”
The inaccessible bins are meant to have maps indicating nearby garbage bins that are accessible, Director of Leisure Services Cam Mertz said.
Mertz noted that the bins that are strapped down are ones that the city cannot easily access and maintain during the winter, including the one near the dyke.
“Most of the garbage bins are accessible right now. When we had our preliminary discussion about serviceable areas we identified that that particular can was not easily accessible,” said Mertz.
While the public had access to 40 cans during the summer months, many are strapped down throughout the winter. In previous years, bins were temporarily removed from their original location, but the city changed direction this year.
“In a press release we put out to the public we indicated it was a trial and we were trying something different as a way to bring better service,” Mertz said. “Where we are finding the most complaints is where they are banded [zip tied] and people are not going to the open garbage can that’s identified on the map.”
Mertz also noted that people are dumping their garbage underneath the new Montane development sign off Coal Creek Road.
“It’s almost like the public’s saying there should be a garbage here. It’s just bizarre to me,” he added.
Although council expressed their disappointment with the garbage piling up, the majority of them recognized that this is an issue that won’t be resolved until next season.
“It’s really disappointing and I feel that needs to be said,” Coun. Dan McSkimming said. “Unfortunately, we’re going to fix the problem by rewarding bad behaviour.”