NANTON, AB (September 6th 2023) – Council has voted to review the future of Nanton’s public yard waste collection area and potential alternatives this winter over cost and operational viability concerns. In that context, the October 31st annual closure of the facility could become a permanent situation.
From April through to October annually, the Town currently operates an unsupervised drop-off site for:
- Grass clippings
- Branches up to a 5cm diameter (no wider than a pop can)
- Leaves and other natural debris (no kitchen or construction waste)
The operation of the facility is a trust exercise between the Town and the community and is there to serve only the residents and businesses of Nanton.
Council has directed Administration to provisionally close (permanently) the Yard Waste Collection Area from October 31st, pending a detailed review into:
- Alternative management and processing solutions
- Assessment of residential green bin collection as a substitute
- The cost of disposal of the existing branch and compost materials on site this fall/winter
- In-house processing of materials and supervision of the area during open months would represent either contractual or employment costs in the estimated region of $30 – 40,000 per annum. Additional operational resources would need to be hired or recruited to run the area properly and securely.
- Current annual processing and disposal costs are approximately $25,000, reflecting an insufficient budget for the levels of material received, meaning that accumulation presents an annual fire hazard concern.
- A composting program that generates useable and safe compost requires additional and prohibitively expensive capital equipment that only makes sense at a regional level.
- Without a supervised site during opening hours, the risk of out-of-area and excessive commercial disposal is high, causing the amount of material being dropped off to balloon beyond what a community Nanton’s size should be generating.
- Processing equipment that would reduce accumulation as effectively as possible (e.g. tub grinders and incinerators/ air burners) would represent capital costs or rentals running into significant additional capital or operational costs over and above labour.
- Any attempt at conventional burning of accumulated waste in the area results in significant public and business complaints.
- There are strong water conservation arguments against removing grass clippings from residential lawns for disposal.
- Alternative lower cost services such as spring and fall curbside collections by the Operations department, have never been attempted in town (as a scaled down alternative to season long openings of a dump for yard and tree waste).
- Previous Councils have considered green bin (kitchen and yard) waste diversion in the past, but costs have always appeared prohibitive. This will be given another look.
- Any solutions to maintain any level of service in this area of yard waste collection must be fiscally prudent, operationally viable and not result in the stockpiling of large amounts of dry material within town year on year.
Stakeholders who believe they have genuine policy or operational solutions that can maintain a particular level of service within Town are encouraged to send them to Administration or Council over the next few months as we work on this challenge. If you believe that the Town should be taxing or charging to appropriately fund a variation of the ‘status quo’ as outlined in the considerations, Council also want to hear from you.