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District of Saanich waives fee to super-size organics bins

Residents won’t have to pay a $30 fee for exchanging existing organics carts for one of the district’s new 360-litre carts, which will cost $129.75 annually
Saanich wants to reduce use of its public works yard and garden waste drop-off as it aims to redevelop the site. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Plans to have Saanich residents pay to dump garden waste at the district’s McKenzie Avenue municipal yard might be on hold, but the district is forging ahead with changes to encourage residents to super-size their curbside organics bins.

Council agreed this week to waive the $30 fee for exchanging existing organics carts — be they 80-litre, 120-litre or 240-litre — for one of the district’s new 360-litre carts.

Residents will pay a $129.75 annual fee for the new larger organics bin.

The current largest cart, the 240-litre version, costs $98.70 a year, according to Saanich’s website,

Staff are expected to bring back to council this year proposals to fine-tune the fee schedule to encourage organics-bin use.

Mayor Dean Murdock said the goal is to bring down the price to dispose of organics and increase the cost to dispose of garbage.

Currently, it’s cheaper by volume for residents to use their garbage bins instead of their organics bins.

A 120-litre garbage bin costs residents $31.50 a year while the 120-litre organics bin costs $49.35 a year because organics are heavier, which increases tipping fees.

Introducing the 360-litre organics bin and charging residents to drop off organic material are among several measures Saanich has been considering to reduce use of its McKenzie Avenue works yard.

District staff say the current garden waste drop-off facility won’t meet anticipated future need. Reducing the number of people using the drop-off service would make it easier for Saanich to redevelop the municipal yard at McKenzie Avenue and B­orden Street, a project with an estimated price tag of more than $200 million, although it’s still in the planning stages.

The site includes buildings that are 40 to 70 years old, don’t meet building-code requirements and are deemed to be past their useful life, the district has said.

A revised concept plan for the redevelopment is expected to come to council this year and could include commercial and residential development to help the district meet provincial housing targets.

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