If you wish to see in concrete how inefficient and complacent the District of North Vancouver can be, drive down to Edgemont area and see the incongruous sight of vibrant upscale neighbourhood blemished by old, festering garbage bins. You would think the replacement of bins would be a matter of making a phone call to the city hall which is just a few blocks away. That is what a local resident did when she first noticed the decaying bins.
Rats feast on the garbage as locals shake their heads in shock and anger as they grapple with the difference between their seemingly easy ask and the tepid bureaucratic response.
That was two years ago. Since then, community members, neighbourhood associations and the Edgemont business association have emailed and called and lobbied to get the bins replaced—but nothing so far. The old bins continue to decay with overflowing garbage which brings wild animals to feast. Rats feast on the garbage as locals shake their heads in shock and anger as they grapple with the difference between their seemingly easy ask and the tepid bureaucratic response.
“The community just wants the problem solved. The costs of new bins is around $1,000 each and that is hardly a figure that would break the bank,” says an incredulous Louise Nagle, a member of the Edgemont and Upper Capilano Community Association. “Most new homes being built here have a price tag of $4 million. If people are paying those prices for new homes and high property taxes for the rest us, the least we should expect is a clean vibrant Edgemont Village. The District has had ample notification from the Business Association, EUCCA, and private residents to clean up the village and implement more resources to expedite and maintain cleanliness throughout the village.”
“It’s an absolute disgrace that we can’t have something as basic as decent bins here. Excuses abound but they do little to abate the negative impact on the businesses in the area and do much to hurt the image of our beautiful neighbourhood,” said Corrie Kost, a council watcher and EUCCA member. A new commercial and residential development happening next door has only added to the problem as garbage overloads and spills out on the street.
The residents and the business association held four meetings in 2016 with the district officials, but it wasn’t until 2017 they were informed the district would try out compacting carts which utilize smart technology as a pilot project. The hopes of getting those trash bins were quashed when they found out the bins had technical issues and couldn’t be installed.
Now they are waiting for the new bins to show up, but no one is holding their breath.
The president of the Edgemont Business Association, Eric Jennings, says frustrating would be an understatement to sum up his experience of getting something as basic as a trash can. “It’s ridiculous, and it’s ongoing for years now, there has been requests repeatedly, we keep getting told that there is something coming. The issue with the garbage and garbage cans in Edgemont Village is probably the number one thing I hear our membership complain about. It is out of control and long overdue. It doesn’t seem responsible to not get these things replaced now. The ones we have (and the shortage of them) leads to litter going on the ground and getting onto the streets. They are an eyesore and need to go,” he says.
The Canadian-made bins were aesthetically pleasing, and cost-effective, but the district rejected the plan because it wants to try new high-tech bins.
The situation is so bad some fellow business owners have told him they have seen rats scurrying around in the bins and dragging garbage out of them. At one point he even suggested a new kind of bin that could replace the old bins, but that plan was dismissed by the district. The Canadian-made bins were aesthetically pleasing, and cost-effective, but the district rejected the plan because it wants to try new high-tech bins. “The Edgemont area is one of the most affluent neighbourhood in all of the DNV, with residents and business high business and property taxes, and we can’t even get freaking trash cans,” he said.
Now the residents and business association are being assured that the staff has put forward a business case, which if approved, would allow the district to obtain funding to buy new containers.
If this finally goes through, the residents and businesses might see a waste container that utilize smart technology to increase waste collection. If and when those bins work, the district will install them in a number of high-use locations at Edgemont and at Deep Cove. A city councillor that was contacted by the residents assured them that new bins are coming and yet also urged them to be patient.
Eric Jensen says, “Enough is enough. We really need to see some actions taken because now it’s new-fangled bins that we have to start waiting for.”
That is not something Eric Jensen wants to hear. “Enough is enough. We really need to see some actions taken because now it’s new-fangled bins that we have to start waiting for,” he says. While politicians and bureaucrats urge residents and business owners to be patient, rats continue to have a field day in the old decaying bins, spilling the garbage on the streets as if mocking the poor state of governance at the District of North Vancouver.
DNV communication coordinator Stephanie Smiley said the district was working closely with Edgemont Village residents to upgrade the current garbage containers.
“We were planning to pilot compacting garbage carts with smart technology. However, we encountered unexpected technical issues and were unable to move forward with that pilot project. Currently, we are awaiting approval of funding for new compacting garbage containers also fitted with smart technology.
These containers will allow us to efficiently manage waste collection in Edgemont Village. If successful, the containers will be installed in the public spaces of town and village centres across the District,” she said.
By Gagandeep Ghuman