Yard waste collection expands in Squamish 

Pilot project expands to the entire community for November

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A pilot project in one neighbourhood has turned into a one-month event for the District of Squamish (DOS).

A free yard waste collection pilot project for the Garibaldi Highlands area that started in August has proven successful enough to expand the initiative to the whole community for the final month of a trial period.

The pilot program has reportedly collected 40 kilograms of material each month from each participating household.

Rod MacLeod, the manager of special projects with the DOS, said that on the best collection day so far about 250 houses out of a possible 900 put out yard waste for collection. MacLeod said that once the pilot project ends late this month, the DOS would debrief how the pilot program went.

"We'll look at what it costs and what we collect and discuss how we go ahead," said MacLeod.

There are costs associated with the program and MacLeod said those costs need to be determined and then a plan needs to be created to cover them. Ultimately, Squamish Council will decide if a yard waste collection program will be permanently established. MacLeod said DOS surveying determined that most residents are prepared to pay to cover the collection costs.

A survey of residents who put yard waste out for collection found that 79 per cent thought the service was worthwhile. Respondents said it is convenient, easily accessible and they liked that it diverts waste from the landfill. And 95 per cent of those surveyed support expansion of the program.

On Nov. 3 and 17 yard waste will be collected from homes in the Valleycliffe, Downtown, Hospital Hill, Loggers Lane and the North Yards area, while on Nov. 10 and 24 the collection truck will service Brackendale along with Garibaldi Estates and Highlands. The DOS is asking residents to have material out in the same place garbage and recycling totes are placed by 7:45 a.m. on the scheduled Saturdays.

The DOS contracted Carney's Waste Systems to conduct the yard waste collection test. Carney's is putting the collected materials into the Whistler Composting facility at the entrance to the Callaghan Valley and mixing it with wastewater treatment plant biosolids, wood chips and food waste to turn it into soil for use by landscapers and gardeners.

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