Waste removal confusion leads to chaos on Clarendon Ave.

Revelakis blames three-week pick-up gap on city’s bureaucratic snafu

By any standard, two to three weeks would be a long time for residents of any Laval neighbourhood to have to wait for their garbage, recycling or kitchen waste to be picked up by the city’s refuse collection workers.

Bureaucracy blamed

However, according to Chomedey city councillor Aglaia Revelakis, that’s exactly how long home dwellers on Clarendon Ave. in Chomedey had to stand by patiently recently. In large part, she blames the mess on an overly bureaucratic system created by the city to manage citizen requests and complaints.

Towards the end of March, the City of Laval completed the distribution of black wheeled garbage bins to 130,000 single-family homes in Laval and multi-unit dwellings with up to seven apartments, with automated pickup of the bins starting on April 1.

Binned garbage only

With that, most households in Laval now have three bins for waste disposal: blue for general recycling, brown for kitchen waste, and black for unrecyclable garbage going to landfill.

With the introduction of the black bin, garbage now goes directly from the bin into the garbage truck after being wheeled from the curb. However, waste removal employees are also instructed not to pick up any garbage (bagged or otherwise) if it isn’t inside the black bin.

According to Revelakis, the new way of doing things has caused confusion in other Laval districts, and not just Chomedey. However, she maintains that one street in particular in Chomedey was especially hard-hit recently when garbage and recycling removal service stopped for several weeks in a row.

Chaos on Clarendon

“There’s a specific street in my district, Clarendon, where the garbage was not picked up for two consecutive weeks,” she said in an interview with the Laval News. “Citizens called me and I had to intervene.”

Revelakis said that after calling the city’s 3-1-1 central phone number for public works to report the problem on Clarendon, the operator assured her a truck would pass by that very day. But when it didn’t, she tried again a week later, and again the truck didn’t make it.

“It was three weeks in a row that this was an issue,” she claimed regarding the garbage removal. “At the same time, there were issues with the recycling two weeks in a row when they did not pass. And there were issues with recycling, garbage and compost [kitchen waste].”

New policy confusion

In addition to these refuse collections, Revelakis said several weeks went by when larger items, such as old furniture or appliances, also weren’t picked up on Clarendon. This was mostly because of the new policy requiring that everything to be taken away as garbage must fit in the black bin. Otherwise, the large item collection takes place on only one day each month.

Revelakis said she understood up to a point that there was bound to be confusion. “I know it’s a new project and people have to be patient, but three weeks is unheard of for garbage not being picked up,” she said, noting that the problem remained not entirely solved as of late last week.

Call 3-1-1, she says

“So, there is an issue. What the citizens have to understand is they have to call 3-1-1, and they have to complain when things don’t happen correctly, whether it’s the garbage, the compost, the recycling or the snow. If they don’t call 3-1-1 to advise them, they will think everything is working a hundred per cent.

“And I understand that the citizens are frustrated,” she added. “Because, you know, they are paying taxes and they’re not getting the services they deserve. But at the same time, we’re in a very bureaucratic system, so if they don’t call 3-1-1, and if they don’t give me authorization to intervene, I will not even be able to look at the file. That’s how bureaucratic it’s become and it’s holding back things.”

Motion seeks improvements

As a potential solution to the waste removal confusion, Revelakis tabled a resolution at the April city council meeting (which was scheduled to be debated at the May council on Tuesday or Wednesday this week).

The motion asks the administration that it make accessible to the city councillors as soon as possible a table of performance indicators for the 3-1-1 line, so there could be a better idea of how effective the city’s requests and complaints service actually is.