AMHERST - Amherst residents won’t have to change the way they sort their garbage for at least a month, after to a decision passed by town council Monday night.
The unanimous decision came after a debate on whether to switch from opaque (solid colour) to clear garbage bags, and whether to transition from six bags per property to four bags per dwelling unit.
Amherst chief administrative officer Greg Herrett says the issue needs more time to be looked at from all angles.
“We’ve zeroed in on just a couple of aspects…when in fact there are a number of issues that we need to be thinking about.”
There is a possibility all five municipal units in the Cumberland County will standardize their solid waste bylaws, so council should consider that in the proposed amendment so residents won’t have to change how sort their garbage more than once, Herrett said.
“We want to do it once and we want to get it right.”
Coun. Dale Fawthrop says the proposed amendment focused on residential property owners, which does not address the main issue of source separation in Amherst.
“When you look at the stats, it shows the residential sector doing a reasonable job.”
The issue of source separation, which is the sorting of garbage, compost, and recyclables into their proper disposal channels, lies mostly with businesses rather than residents, Herrett said.
“Most people acknowledge the issue is with the commercial sector.”
The amendment will go back to a standing committee and will return to council next month when they will once again look at the proposed changes, and decide whether or not they meet the needs of the town, he said.
“There’s no guarantees this will be ready for February…we’re not in a rush to change this.”
If the decision does go back in front of council by February, the proposed amendment will likely still include a recommendation for residents to switch from opaque to clear bags, Herrett said.
“That’s a council decision.”
But the amended bylaw might still allow properties to place six bags curbside per property until the town’s contract with its garbage collection agency expires in the fall of 2012, since the need to reduce the number of bags per residence might be made moot by the switch to clear bags.
“It’s possible,” Fawthrop said.