Trash talk emerges at enviro policy consult
How many bins? How often will they be emptied? What happens to large objects, such as these pallets and chunks of wood? Questions about St. Lazare’s impending shift to 240-litre bins and mechanized garbage collection dominated last week’s environment policy consultation.
by JULIE CADIEUX
ST. LAZARE — The threat of a forced shift to smaller and fewer garbage receptacles brought residents to last Thursday’s unveiling of the municipality’s environmental policy.
As Mayor Pierre Kary began explaining how St. Lazare is a green town, known for its country charm and for its efforts in the past 25 year for preserving and respecting the environment, it became obvious that trash, was on the mind of many residents in the crowd.
At the June 7 meeting, council voted to adopt a $470k loan bylaw for the purchase of mandatory 240-litre garbage bins for the town’s roughly 6,500 addresses. The bylaw replaces an earlier decision to purchase 360-litre bins after councillors agreed St. Lazare has to get a handle on its trash output, but council remains split on whether to go to 52-week pickup or the current 36-week schedule.
Kary explained that in order for St. Lazare to conform to MRC guidelines decreeing a 60-percent reduction in organic waste by 2014, and zero organic waste by 2021, the municipality must begin introducing changes sooner rather than later. The 240-litre bins are just the start to help residents change their habits, he added. Council is also discussing weekly green bins for yard waste, year-round weekly trash pickup and promoting composting and possibly composting centres. “We are taking small steps” Kary said, “we are working out a plan.”
When it comes to garbage, St. Lazare is far from green. Last year, its residents and businesses produced eight million tonnes of trash, which works out to approximately 450 kilos per person per year. The Quebec average is 272 kg per person. Kary also noted that only 70 percent of residents recycle compared to 91% of Montrealers. “We have to keep working on it.” he added. The only bright spot — St. Lazare’s spring and fall leaf pickup generated 340 tons of leaves, which stayed out of the landfills.
The mayor also touched on water conservation, the reasons why the town has strict watering guidelines, and on its plans to research what other things it can implement to improve St. Lazare’s water economy.
He went on to talk about the town’s exponential growth in the last decade and how this has impacted and will continue to impact the environment. St. Lazare, he added, has plans to protect 30 percent of its forests and wetlands.
The recent amendment to the tree-cutting bylaw was also brought up, with the mayor announcing that the town has created a position for someone to work with builders and developers to educate them as to what trees they can and cannot remove.
“There’s a balance between development and maintaining a green town,” said Kary.
The Hudson St. Lazare Gazette – June 22, 2011