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LETTER: Blowing smoke about garbage fees

I just finished reading Ed Grant’s letter to the editor (Jan 12), and I’m shaking my head at the misleading and misguided arguments he makes. This whole service was a solution looking for a problem. It’s something that most property owners never asked for, did not need, and few make use of.

I’ve owned a cabin in the Brigus Junction area for 10 years. For the past three years, I’ve paid for trash collection, although I have never used it, taking my trash home with me when I leave (where I already pay for the service). I don’t receive any other services. We are responsible for our own water and septic, we pay to maintain our own roads, winter users pay for snow clearing, and frankly there is no fire protection service – even though I understand that is the Eastern Regional Service Board’s (ERSB) next intended tax grab.

When Grant talks about paying a fair share consider that the ERSB uses our privately built and maintained roads, with zero contribution to the maintenance or snow clearing of the roads.

Grant quotes the Tax Review Report’s comment that all property owners should pay at least a minimum tax — yet the ERSB consistently says this is a fee for a service, not a tax.

Grant and others have argued that this is “only” $180 a year. In my area there are approximately 500 cabins and lot owners, which potentially translates to $900,000 a year in fees to the ERSB.

That’s a pretty hefty bill for a pickup truck once a week (well, most weeks). Last year the ERSB set up a bulk drop-off site on Mill Road by placing a sign on the side of the road; when people dropped trash there it was promptly torn up by birds and animals and remained like that until photos showed up in local media and the ERSB sent someone to clean it up.

This year they’ve managed to find room in the budget to place four plastic trash cans — which are usually filled long before the trash is collected.

There’s no argument from me about paying for services provided, but blowing smoke about luxury properties and internet doesn’t change the facts — this has been poorly thought out and poorly implemented from the start.

I don’t think you need 20 committee members and an $11 million budget to determine that.

Derek Gould


Related letter:

LETTER: Is it really about the bag of garbage at the Cabin?

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