Woodstock residents may soon face garbage restrictions

by | Aug 16, 2023

Town set to renegotiate its waste-management contract, which may limit garbage and encourage recycling

Woodstock residents in all wards may see new uniform rules surrounding waste collection as early as January 2024. Those rules may include significant restrictions for everyone.

At the Aug. 15 regular session, council gave staff the go-ahead to negotiate a new garbage collection contract with J.S. Bellis Ltd. 

Mayor Trina Jones said garbage-collections discussions became a hot topic this summer as residents in the former local service districts sought the same service received by those in Ward 4, the former Woodstock town limits. 

Under the current garbage collection contract, all residents see recycling picked up once each month. However, only residents inside the former town limits see regular garbage collected on recycling week during the summer months. 

Jones explained the town can’t extend that service beyond Ward 4 as the town does not yet control the waste-collection contract in the other wards. That contract remains under the control of the Western Valley Regional Service Commission. 

Woodstock council, the garbage-collection firm and the WVRSC agreed to renegotiate the contract, which will only expire in 2025. 

While a new contract would place residents in all wards under the same rules and regulations, it could mean significant changes for everyone. 

Jones said the most significant change could be limiting the amount of waste residents can leave at the curb for weekly collection. She explained the town needs those limitations to keep costs under control. 

Jones said Woodstock is one of a few New Brunswick municipalities without garbage limitations. Because of the limitless garbage collection, she said, the town faces an almost impossible task of budgeting for tipping fees. 

The mayor explained Plaster Rock enacted garbage limits a couple of years ago, allowing it to predict tipping rates within a ton of annual waste. 

Jones explained that under potential new rules, each resident would have a uniform garbage bin, similar to the blue recycling bins, to fill weekly. She explained homeowners could put additional waste at the curb, but they would need to purchase a ticket for the extra garbage. 

“You can put out unlimited. You just have to pay for it,” Jones said.

She said the new waste-management model would include more special pickup days and drop-off locations.

Jones said homeowners would face no limits on how much recycling they set out for collection. 

The mayor said waste-collection companies explained that without waste limits in place, homeowners often throw recyclable items into the regular garbage, significantly driving up tipping fees and driving down conservation efforts. 

Deputy Mayor Mark Rogers said other New Brunswick municipalities, and almost everyone in Nova Scotia, must divide their waste three ways — compost, recycling and regular garbage. 

He said the system encourages residents and business owners to significantly reduce what ends up in the landfill. 

Jones agreed, noting all residents pay the cost of waste. 

“All those working hard to compost and recycle pay for those who don’t,” she said. 

The mayor encouraged council members to contact residents in their wards for feedback. She said staff could utilize residents’ input during the negotiations with the waste-collection company.

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