The recent trend of overflowing trash cans in the downtown core, along the waterfront, and in Meaford's parks has many resident fuming, and they've taken to social media to express their displeasure.
On Sunday, October 22, several residents posted comments and photos of overflowing trash bins on the 'Meaford Community News and Events' Facebook page, expressing frustration at a growing problem.
“I live across the street from the park and go there every day with my little Yorky. Each day I pick up garbage. However I am sick to death of seeing all this garbage because we do not have enough bins,” said one resident.
“Why is it the Municipality of Meaford's problem? If the slobs would take their own garbage back home and put it in their garbage. Not rocket science people. I have no problem doing this when I’m out of town,” said another resident.
“Locals also empty their garbage in those at night, drive to each one. I have witnessed it first hand multiple times,” offered another resident.
“To be fair to the town, I have watched as they empty the bins all along the road and they are filled within hours by passersby. I've seen vehicles stop and just empty everything out into one of those cans and just move on, they didn't use the beach, the splash pad, walk around or anything. I also notice that quite a few of the people using the area for fishing, swimming, or other recreation, often leave quite a bit of garbage behind. You could put a 20 cubic yard dumpster there and it would be overflowing daily,” noted one resident on Facebook.
Meaford's Supervisor of Parks and Facility Operations, Rod Willis, told The Independent that overflowing municipal trash cans has become a problem, and he said that it is largely due to people using the trash cans to dispose of household waste.
Willis said that from May 1, throughout the summer months municipal workers check and empty the trash cans in the downtown core and in Meaford's parks daily. Beginning October 1, the waste bins are checked and emptied every other day through the winter months.
“We're finding household garbage in the trash cans,” Willis said.
Asked about complaints that some trash receptacles had been removed, Willis confirmed that they had been moved in an attempt to address a chronic household garbage disposal issue. The problem for the municipality is that when a situation is addressed in one area, the problem moves to other municipal trash bins.
“People will waste $3 in fuel to avoid a $3 bag tag,” noted Willis.
Willis noted that new waste bins were installed in the downtown core a few years ago that feature smaller openings for trash and recyclables. Those receptacles helped reduce the amount of household trash being disposed of, but then the trash cans along the waterfront on Bayfield Street began to overflow in between the daily checks by municipal crews.
“I saw a man this morning @8am. stop his car on Sykes and toss his grocery bag of garbage in a container there pull a U turn and drive towards O.S.,” one resident posted on Facebook.
Asked if larger trash bins would help, Willis suggested that the current bins can be emptied by one municipal employee, while larger containers would require an extra set of hands, and given how quickly the bins have been filling up, larger containers are unlikely to solve the problem.
Meaford Mayor Barb Clumpus has been as frustrated as her fellow residents with the overflowing municipal trash bins.
“Our public garbage cans are in place to help keep Meaford's parks, trails and streets clear of litter. It is really unfortunate that some people use them to clean out their vehicles or to dispose of their household garbage. Our parks and waterfront are such beautiful areas and it is important to me, and most of our community, to keep these places clean for all to enjoy,” Clumpus told The Independent. “Meaford residents generally do a great job of using our recycling and green bin programs. We have consistently been in the top seven communities in the province diversion rates over the past few years. I hope we can build on what we have accomplished and get even better at keeping our community and our environment clean.”
The mayor also noted that Meaford residents can now sign up to get reminders by phone, text, or email of garbage and recycling pick-up days. Visit www.meaford.ca/waste, or call 519-538-1060 to register.
Photo submitted by Wally Zeisig