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LETTER: Size of county's new waste carts could be 'daunting' for some

Midhurst resident urges county to have options for new collection bins to reflect 'growing’ and ‘increasingly diverse' communities
2020-03-11 County JO-001
The County of Simcoe council chambers are shown in a file photo. Jessica Owen/BarrieToday

BarrieToday welcomes letters to the editor at news@barrietoday.com. Please include your daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). The following is an open letter to Simcoe County councillors and waste management staff in response to a stories titled 'Garbage collection days changing in parts of Simcoe County' published on July 27, and 'County expects to roll out new waste carts between August, October' published on July 28. 
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Dear Simcoe County councillors and Waste Management planning staff;
 
I read with interest the recent articles about waste collection on the BarrieToday website. I live in a neighbourhood where the new waste management carts will probably be a benefit since I have a large garage and a long lane. Carrying the recycling bins down a slope in the winter has always been challenging. The new rolling bins will be easy to manoeuvre and storage in my garage should not be a problem.
 
However, I am concerned about issues raised in previous BarrieToday articles and also referenced by Mayor Brian Saunderson of Collingwood about the size of the 360-litre recycling cart. At a height of 110.4 centimetres by 84.5 cm deep and 74.1 cm wide, it is a substantial entity (about 43.5 by 33 by 29 inches). I am a 168-cm tall woman and a cart of that height is just below my chest height. Simcoe County’s ever-increasing population of small, frail seniors would find such a large cart daunting.
 
In addition to concerns about the size of the 360-litre cart, there are concerns about storage. Many Simcoe County residents do not have large garages and ample storage space. Townhouses and condominiums have proliferated in the county and many of those have single-car garages, tiny front yards and no side-yard storage areas.
 
The suggestions outlined in the suggested storage areas on the Waste Management website would not be options in garages, which are frequently barely wide enough to open a car door to exit the vehicle. Storing the carts at the end of the garage would mean the vehicle would need to be backed out of the garage, the carts moved, and the car then returned to the garage. That is hardly a viable option, especially in the winter months, when ice and snow banks are at play.
 
Many people have already voiced concerns about the 360-litre container and their issues seem valid. Those who think the 360-litre container is too large for small household applications do not seem to be change-adverse people; they seem to be families who have considered the problem and realized a giant “one-size-fits-all” bin is not the answer. 
 
I am aware that a review and survey will be done in the spring of 2022 and that following a user survey, the waste management team may choose to make a smaller recycling cart an option. My question is: Why wait? You are already well aware that the large containers do not fit easily into small single car garages; that condominium and townhouse dwellers are usually one- or two-person families which do not generate large amounts of recycling materials; and that a 240-litre recycling container will fit on to the new automated vehicles just as easily. That would mitigate the need to pivot next year and probably encourage a greater uptake of the new system.
 
We live in a county that is growing and becoming increasingly diverse. Why not provide the extra-large recycling bin to communities like mine and the smaller 240-litre container to these more compact communities?
 
Andrea Norton
Midhurst

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