Amherst to conduct one last sweep for spring cleanup waste

Darrell Cole
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People still putting items out two weeks after collection ended

AMHERST – Amherst is going to pay another $15,000 or so to pick up left over from its spring collection, and it’s not sitting well with some councilors.

“We have this issue every year, we hold the cleanup and people continue to bring stuff out to the curb,” Coun. Robert Bird said. “People claim they didn’t know or didn’t see the ads, but you darn well they knew and kept putting stuff out knowing that we would cave in the end and remove it. It’s frustrating and it has to stop.”

Council spent nearly 40 minutes debating what to do with the waste that has continued to show up on town curbs a couple of weeks after the spring collection of bulky items and construction and demolition waste finished.

Following the collection, the town’s dangerous and unsightly premises administrator surveyed the town and sent registered letters to the offending property owners advising them to remove the waste from the curb.

“In previous years staff decided to carry out an additional collection where we paid our collector to do over the entire town again,” deputy CAO Jason MacDonald said. “It was decided not to do this again this year as it was outside policy and eventually we have to move to a situation where we follow the policy, or change it.”

As well, MacDonald said, next year the Cumberland Joint Services Management Authority will be managing the spring collection in the town and will expect the policy to be followed.

Coun. George Baker said he doesn’t agree with sending registered letters to the property owners, saying the town should get the collector to pick up the waste. He said he and other councilors have been getting calls from residents upset about receiving registered letters.

He doesn’t believe it’s necessary to get heavy handed with residents and that the town should go out and collect what’s left, but suggested doing it quietly so there isn’t a flood of new waste to the curb.

“Our goal is to clean up the town, but there’s a lot of garbage still out there. Instead of sending out nasty letters we should just go pick it up,” Baker said.

Mayor Robert Small, who had to cast the deciding vote in favour of another cleanup, said he believes the policy in place is working, but people are simply ignoring it. Deputy Mayor Lisa Emery said people are noticing the garbage that has been left behind and suggested it needs to be removed by the first of June.

CAO Greg Herrett said the town has to proceed through unsightly premises because it’s the only enforcement tool it has. He suggested that the final decision is council’s but it could cost an additional $15,000 to $20,000.

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

Organizations: Cumberland Joint Services Management Authority

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Recent comments

  • Nicolle Mitchell
    May 26, 2014 - 17:59

    Ummm...where are these ads that (we) keep darn well ignoring!? I have never seen one. Do you (Robert Bird) really think that the people of Amherst are that manipulative? You basically called the townspeople liars in the above article...Ridiculous and disrespectful! I didn't even get a collection schedule this year as I have in past years. As someone else said, who the heck has been out spring cleaning? We just got rid of the snow and most of us still have to turn our heat on. I would love to see this pick up later and see better communication from the town. Based on the above article complaining about $20,000 to pick up the taxpayers garbage, I am not surprised that people missed the dates. Rather than slamming the residents, why doesn't the government plan for success and figure out how to ensure that the people are properly informed in the future?

  • Concerned Citizen
    May 21, 2014 - 23:41

    Spring clean up happens to early every year I too believe that it needs to be at least a few weeks later so that people can get what they need to done in there yards. When it is this early yards are way to wet to do the yard work needed. And as far as unsightly premises the town needs to really step up and do something when a lot of places in town have had complaints every year and things get fixed just enough to pass then it is right back to how it was before. If a property has been complained about it should be watched even after it has been cleaned up so it don't go back to the same again and again.

  • dontblamepropertyowners
    May 21, 2014 - 23:28

    I received one of these registered letters and my construction waste for spring clean up was out at curb side well before pick up and mine was the only one that wasn't picked up on my street. Maybe the Town should survey if the contracted waste removal company has done their job.

  • Michelle white
    May 21, 2014 - 22:06

    When they came to my house the garbage men picked through and only took a few things,and at my father three men got out and each picked two things out then left. If some homes have more out then aloud what is the harm of taking it because some house have none out

  • Amherstonian
    May 21, 2014 - 21:05

    Why the heck do they hold it so early? Some of us still had snow in our yards, and where there wasn't snow, the yards were too swampy to clean up! (Drainage is another issue....) Push the clean-up date back by a week or two, to give people the CHANCE to clean up their yards!! It's a simple fix - it really is!!