Okotoks Mountainview community members and former Town Councillor, Steve Hunt, met with town officials last Friday to voice their opposition and concerns on the bi-weekly garbage pilot project.

Residents Ryan Nix, Corey Gibson, and Hunt represented Mountainview and came armed with a well-prepared presentation. Nix started a petition on May 2nd after the community Facebook page was flooded with comments from upset residents, in response to an announcement from the town. The petition currently has 650 signatures opposing the project and the town has taken notice.

Paul Lyons, Waste Services Manager and Dawn Smith, Sustainability Coordinator for the town started by saying they openly admit there were mistakes made, and did not communicate the project with the residents in an effective manner. Surprisingly, there was no representation from town council present.

Reasons behind the petition included no consultation with residents prior to implementation, general ethics surrounding the spending of tax dollars and the sizing of the bins currently provided being insufficient for proper sorting.

Another concern was the rebate being offered by the town is insufficient, and in their opinion, insulting. The Mountainview community feel as though if the service is being cut in half, the billing should follow suit. There was also mention of concern from residents feeling pressured by the town to live a certain way.

"We just want our town to provide the services we need, for reasonable taxes, so we can live our lives as we choose. If people want to be hard core sustainable, that is is up them, but please don't force that lifestyle on the rest of the town. We will sort our waste if the town provides us with the proper tools, but we are not willing to take on a full-time job of waste management." said Nix.

Town officials have taken inventory of the concerns and have modified parts of the project, such as offering an upgrade to the larger black cart or providing additional excess garbage bags at no additional charge.

After a lengthy discussion, they were met with a mutual understanding that the purpose of the project is to further develop a program that will better serve the needs of Okotoks residents, while increasing the quality of sorting.

Waste Services Manager for the town, Paul Lyons, asked Nix, Gibson and Hunt for their assistance in taking information back to the opposed residents, explaining that further programs cannot be developed without the data that will be collected during the pilot project.

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