A shift in behaviour or beware of the trash troopers


You have been forewarned, a staff report to be reviewed Monday by St. Thomas council is designed to generate “a permanent shift in resident’s behaviour.”

Michelle Shannon, the city’s waste management coordinator, has submitted a draft version of a waste diversion and curbside collection bylaw designed to achieve the province’s 60% diversion target.

To do so, Shannon says the city “will need to utilize a combination of policy mechanisms and incentives to stimulate waste diversion and discourage excessive generation of garbage.”

Having read the report, the thing we see diverted most is cash from our wallets. And if anything is to be generated, it likely will be frustration.

The tools Shannon would like the city to employ include, “solid waste bag limits, user-pay program for waste and/or enforced mandatory recycling laws.”

We fear the shift in behaviour will be enforced by trash troopers or the garbage Gestapo.

We say that because Shannon’s report notes mandatory recycling “can be enforced at the curb, and disposal service can be withdrawn when users continually place recyclables in the garbage.”

So, although you pay taxes and spend valuable time sorting this from that — based on guidelines from the waste contractor BFI Canada — step afoul of the trash troopers and your garbage will remain on the front lawn, because you are a curbside criminal.

For your inability to shift behaviour, you could face a fine of $155.

Use an improper receptacle for your garbage and/or recyclables — another $155.

Permit an animal to pick over your unwanted trash — you guessed it, $155.

How exactly are we to encourage a shift in behaviour with the neighbour’s dog or roaming raccoons?

If garbage service is withdrawn, do you not think bags of trash will be heaved into ravines or flung into disposal bins along the city’s back alleys? Of course if you’re caught, it’ll cost you $155.

If the city wants to play the heavyweight, it could hit you up with a fine of $5,000, according to Shannon’s report. Subsequent offences could set you back a maximum $25,000.

Sheesh, who do you think we are — community garden advocates?

The city is missing the point entirely here.

In a report to council some time ago, it was noted city staff received about 400 complaints over the course of a year dealing with waste removal.

The bulk of those pointed the finger at BFI for various indiscretions, including chucking garbage and recyclables in the same truck on numerous occasions, as documented by Ald. David Warden.

We can only assume the garbage Gestapo will be trailing those trucks with notices of violation in hand.

Based on numerous phone calls and letters to the T-J, city residents care passionately about recycling and do an admirable job every week at the curb.

Shannon and city staff should ensure the shift in behaviour applies equally to the waste contractor.


Ross Tucker, director of parks and recreation, is making waves

And, Monday evening, when his report to council washes ashore, the staff at St. Thomas-Elgin Family YMCA will be ready to throw Tucker in the pool.

You see, the Y wants free access to Jaycees Pool for their members and camp children while the High Street pool is closed for nine weeks this summer for renovations.

The Y also wants a break in rates charged for the use of a pavilion in Pinafore Park for their summer day camp. Or at best, an operating grant for the difference between last year’s rate and that charged in 2010.

Tucker figures that would be a $2,000 loss in revenue to the city on the pavilion rental.

He notes in his report, “Staff appreciates that the YMCA is trying to provide coverage to their members while their pool is being renovated. Staff believes that in order to be fair, we must treat all of our user groups in an equal and consistent manner.”


The Y charges members for the use of their facilities and there is a fee levied to send your youngster to day camp.

It is not the financial responsibility of ratepayers to subsidize these services.

In fact, the city has already contributed $300,000 to the Y’s capital campaign over the past few years.

Some would say the well is running dry.


“Put the fare up and get the bus back on. I don’t care if you put it up as long as you get the bus back.”

Paratransit user Muriel Benoot expresses her frustration at the city’s move to pare service back to two buses on weekdays.

City Scope appears Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be e-mailed to: mccallum@stthomastimesjournal.com.

2 thoughts on “A shift in behaviour or beware of the trash troopers

  1. Perhaps we can get some ideas here:

    “ADDICTED TO PLASTIC is a feature-length documentary about solutions to plastic pollution. The point-of-view style documentary encompasses three years of filming in 12 countries on 5 continents, including two trips to the middle of the Pacific Ocean where plastic debris accumulates. The film details plastic’s path over the last 100 years and provides a wealth of expert interviews on practical and cutting edge solutions to recycling, toxicity and biodegradability. These solutions – which include plastic made from plants – will provide viewers with a hopeful perspective about our future with plastic.”


  2. I have to wonder, when they’re figuring waste diversion rates, are they weighing recyclables before or after they’ve thrown away the #1 & #2 plastic that isn’t really recyclable?


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