County scraps planned minimum fee for bagged garbage at waste facilities

GUELPH – Wellington County has scrapped a plan to implement a minimum charge for bagged garbage brought to its landfill site and transfer stations.

A new user fee structure developed by the Solid Waste Services committee was approved by county council on Nov. 28.

Tipping fees at county sites will rise by 22 per cent, from $80 to $97.50 per tonne in the new year, but all other existing fees will remain the same. That includes the $2-per-bag rate for garbage brought to waste facilities.

Earlier this year discussions had been held on instituting a minimum $5 charge at the facilities, but committee chair councillor Gregg Davidson said there were concerns about public confusion over the new charge.

Under the proposal being considered, the $5 minimum would only apply to residents bringing less than three bags, with those bringing three or more charged $2 per bag.

Waste brought in County of Wellington user pay bags would continue to be accepted without charge at the facilities, as such bags are paid for at source.

However, at a March meeting, councillors had trouble coming up with a way to explain how the minimum would be applied.

“All of you here will remember we had a chat about the five dollar fee at one time and we went ‘round and ‘round and ‘round here in this chamber,” said Davidson.

“Well, guess what? We did that again at committee. We went ‘round and ‘round and ‘round and we actually trashed it in the end because we couldn’t come to a consensus.

“We figured that the residents would be confused, just as we are confused, when it comes to that $5 fee when it comes to our users of our yellow bags. So that is being shelved and staff are going to come back in 2020 with a cleaner approach.”

Davidson also told council of plans to “piggyback” on an RFP by Waterloo Region for green bins and liner bags which is expected to save about $50,000 on the purchase. The county will add green bins for organic waste to its roadside collection program in July.