Town councillors balk at pitch for new system of composting

As town council met last week, the talk was all about town programs promoting environmental and literacy growth.

As town council met last week, the talk was all about town programs promoting environmental and literacy growth.

Delegations from the Heartland Beautification Committee and the Stettler Public Library made presentations to council.

Heartland Beautification presented a proposal for a new system of composting. Currently, the town has compost bins set up throughout Stettler for collection, but Grace Fix of the beautification committee suggested “a more efficient” curbside system.

In that system, each residence would have an individual bin and would then be required to sort waste into three sections: trash, recycling and compost.

There are two options for programs — a year-round program and a summer program, Fix said. The disadvantage of the summer program is that asking residents to only sort their garbage at certain times could get confusing and result in less participation, she said.

The cost of the composting plan generated plenty of discussion.

Fix suggested either asking residents to cover part of the cost of buying bins, or having the entire cost covered by the town.

“My guess is you might get better participation from residents if you buy the containers,” Fix said.

The total cost would be about $170,000 for vented bins and $88,000 for non-vented bins.

Some members of council balked at the proposal.

“I can personally say I would never use this system,” said Coun. Darcy Bachman. “I would definitely like to see more proof put forward that curbside would be more of a benefit than what we have right now.”

“It’s gonna be a tough, tough sell,” said Coun. Al Campbell.

Heartland Beautification recommends surveying town residents. If they’re positive, the committee recommends setting up a year-round curbside program. The committee didn’t make a recommendation about who would pay for the bins.

“A big part of your job is education,” Mayor Dick Richards told Fix. “It’s education that’s going to be a challenge.

“That’s what I need to be sold on, that people will pay for this service.”

Mary Zazelenchuk of the Stettler Public Library presented a summary of the library’s operation and asked for more than $197,000 to cover operating costs for 2014. In 2013, the library had about 60,000 visitors and provided $1.2 million in “physical items” to Stettler residents.

Council was supportive.

“You do what you do because we know you have a passion for it,” Richards said.

The motion was carried.