October 3, 2010

Sam Katz's Caper: Mayor Katz, do the Math - by Margaret Ullrich

There are exceptions to every rule.  Then, again, what kind of person makes a rule which in practice ends up having more the 50% exceptions?

We had our second pickup a la the New Garbage System last Wednesday.

It wasn't pretty.

Okay.  Everybody in our bay had received the second copy of the Rolling out your garbage brochure and the note which said "Your property is an exception to what is noted in the guide."

Our neighbors across the lane, being good friendly Manitobans, cleared room for us and, for the most part, we bay folks followed the new rule.  Our next-door neighbor, who'd been having a rough week, put his garbage by his driveway.  More about him later.

We had a little extra company.  During the morning, Shaw trucks - in pairs - were parked by and in every bay, and in front of driveways - right next to the new garbage carts - on the street.  They were also zipping up and down streets.  I didn't know Shaw had so many blue trucks.  Apparently they were doing some maintenance work.  Well, that was nice of them.  I always thought Shaw provided quality service.

I just wish they had put their friendly rivalry with MTS aside and checked out the Recycling and Garbage Calendar in the back of the MTS phonebook.

That's right.  Folks with back lanes were bracing to get visited by 2 Shaw trucks, the recycling truck and the new, huge garbage truck.

We were having our own problems.  The lock on our gate was frozen shut.  The Shaw fellow helped out by handing Paul his butane torch.  Paul wondered if a fire truck would be joining the other trucks.  Luckily the torch worked on the lock and didn't damage our wooden gate.  The Shaw fellow was able to work on the box in our yard.   

Paul and I poured coffee and sat to watch the show.

The Shaw fellows did their business and left by noon.  In the good old days our garbage was picked up by 7:30 a. m. and our recycling was gone by lunch.  Well, the recycling came by around 1:30 p. m.  Maybe they'd been tipped off by Shaw to stay away.  

The garbage truck lumbered in by 3:40 p. m.

I don't know why, but our next-door neighbor stepped outside to watch the modern monstrosity in action.  The truck driver yelled - those trucks are noisy - at him to move his cart across the lane so it could be picked up.  Our neighbor complied and progress progressed to the next cart.

The media has been showing some other garbage ideas being bandied about in City Hall.  The politicians had done the math.  A 240 litre cart holds as much as 3 regular garbage cans.  If that's not enough, someone suggested upgrading:

for $  33 a year, a household can get a 360 litre cart
for $  93 a year, a household can get a second 240 litre cart
for $116 a year, a household can get a second 360 litre cart 

The upgrades were voted down.  CTV ran a poll.  "Would you be willing to pay for extra and larger carts."  Big surprise - 1500 folks responded: 37% said yes, 63% said no. 

Reporters, who hadn't been picked to cover the Olympics in Vancouver, went to Stonewall and to Brandon.  Winnipeg's Mayor Katz was quoted as saying he favors pickup from both sides of the street.  He also said he hopes there will be less garbage.

One tired north-end citizen was interviewed.  She seemed to be concerned about the environment.  She wasn't sucking down on any bottled water.  She was having a problem with the new system.  In her household there are 3 adults and 5 kids.  She was having a problem cramming their crap into the new cart.

Back to our little bay...  There are 11 houses clustered around a bit of green.  The houses aren't large - average about 1100 square feet.  In one house lives a divorced fellow all alone.  In another there's a family with five kids.  The other houses fall in between, population-wise.

I wish the politicians would do the math.  

Houses don't make garbage.  People do.  How do 7 people - some in disposable diapers - cut down to the same amount of garbage as one middle-aged man?  The single man isn't a hero for producing enough garbage for his  240 litre cart.  

Disposable diapers are not recyclable.  Disposable diapers can't be thrown into the compost.  Disposable diapers aren't used only by infants on formulas.  Disabled people and Seniors are using them, too.    

Any hints for a family of 7?

(Originally posted February 14, 2010)  

Have a great day.  How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

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