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Automated garbage opt-out approved by St. John's council

Coun. Ian Froude and Coun. Maggie Burton speak to reporters in council chambers at St. John’s City Hall after Monday’s public meeting.
Coun. Ian Froude and Coun. Maggie Burton. - The Telegram

Residents with disabilities can opt out of automated garbage collection by proving disability to city

Residents with disabilities will be able to opt out of the upcoming automated garbage collection, once the system rolls out in June.

On Tuesday, council approved a measure that allows residents to opt out if they have an issue handling the large garbage bins used as part of the program.

Residents who may have difficulty getting their garbage in the bin, then the bins to the curb, will be able to apply to the city for an exemption. Their garbage will be collected under the current system.

Coun. Ian Froude, council public works lead, said last week the concern was raised on the campaign trail, which he brought to city hall upon election.

“Through engagement and conversation, it was decided that we’d bring forward the exemption if you have mobility challenges,” Froude said.

An initial concern was raised about having to get medical documentation proving that a mobility issue exists in order to opt out of the program. City staff reminded council that proof of any kind of issue through a doctor’s note or similar recommendation is standard for many city services, so the motion passed.

The Coalition for Persons with Disabilities is applauding the city for taking steps toward equity with the move.

“We consider the opportunity to opt out of the new automated garbage disposal piece as a form of equity,” said Nancy Reid, manager of strategic initiatives with the Coalition of Persons with Disabilities.

“The only caution is that if there is a need for an individual to get doctor certification, there may be a barrier imposed on someone in terms of a financial barrier. Barring that, often there’s a solution within the city in other regards so that a not-for-profit group that an individual may be affiliated with would be able to provide that documentation.”

Hardware Upgrades

City council also approved $314,844.54 for upgrades to 13 garbage trucks in anticipation of automated garbage collection.

The tender was awarded to Quebec-based Fleetmind Seon Solutions.

The upgrades will see software and hardware installed in the trucks, including onboard navigation systems, new radios, digital cameras and GPS equipment.

Twitter: DavidMaherNL

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