News Local

Second thought prompts return of grass-clipping collection 0

By Sara Carson, Orillia Packet & Times

ORILLIA - 

Grass clippings will be picked up on the curb of Orillia homes after all.

“I was pleasantly surprised,” Coun. Andrew Hill said Tuesday. “The residents who use this service will be happy.”

At the Feb. 11 council committee meeting, city politicians rejected Hill’s user-pay grass-clippings collection proposal.

At Monday’s council meeting, the majority — in a 7-1 vote — were in favour of allowing residents to put garbage tags on their grass clippings for collection for a trial period.

Coun. Michael Fogarty voted against the user-pay collection. Coun. Paul Spears was not in attendance.

“As it turned out, I think there was overwhelming support for it,” Coun. Patrick Kehoe said. “... There were a few other councillors who, after sober second thought, thought it merited at least a trial.”

Kehoe has spoken with residents in favour of grass-clippings collection.

“I was talking to a number of residents who certainly didn’t have access to compost,” he said.

Some properties aren’t large enough to house a composter and some are too large and produce too many clippings.

“The volume of grass clippings they’d have would be in excess of what could be handled by one of these composters,” Kehoe said. “They made very valid points.”

During 2013 budget deliberations, council cut the formerly free service to save $47,300.

“In my opinion, I believe there will still be savings,” Hill said.

Landscaping companies will not use the user-pay system, but will opt to drop their grass clippings off at the Kitchener Street landfill at no charge, he suggested.

“The residents who put out one or two bags every couple of weeks ... will still be able to utilize the service and I don’t think they’ll be taxing the system that much. We will still see the savings,” Hill said.

In one year, city staff will report to council on whether there were savings.

City CAO Roman Martiuk estimated it would be “somewhat reduced” from $47,300.

Residents participating in the user-pay collection can put their grass clippings in either a clear plastic bag with a garbage tag attached or a paper compostable bag.

To ensure the tag doesn’t end up in the compost, those using paper bags are asked to stick a tag on top of the grass itself.

sara.ross@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @Sara_VRoss

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