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.