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Town grapples with garbage truck problems

Residents have been dropping blue bags into these red industrial garbage bins until the town gets its garbage trucks fixed, but the inconvenience will end soon . – © Ryan King


PORT AUX BASQUES – Collection of their blue recycling bags has been interrupted repeatedly for residents up and down the coast lately, because the garbage trucks are being taken in for servicing.

As a temporary measure, the Town of Channel-Port aux Basques set out large red industrial collection bins from C&C Enterprises in multiple areas in the town for people to drop their blue bags. These locations include Main Street, across from the Town Hall, on Bay Street by the playground, at the end of Regional Street by the old base site, and on Morris Street in Grand Bay West. The bins are cleaned out daily while the service interruption continues.

Town manager Leon MacIsaac noted that garbage collection on the Southwest coast is controlled by the Marine Mountain Zone Waste Management Committee (MMZWMC).

“It consists of representatives from each of the Municipalities, Local Service Districts and unincorporated areas from South Branch/Coal Brook to Rose Blanche. The MMZWMC operates under the guidelines established by the Western Regional Service Board,” explained MacIsaac.

The MMZWMC currently owns all of the equipment that is used for garbage and recycling collection by Port aux Basques, with the town providing the staff for collection and to service the trucks when mechanical issues occur.

“The MMZWMC currently has a limited fleet of waste collection vehicles and are currently waiting on delivery of a new unit expected to arrive by early November. The order for this unit was placed in July 2020 and is delayed due to manufacturing issues related to COVID-19. Two of the former units were recently taken out of service due to extensive mechanical failure and structural safety issues. The remaining two units have experienced increased mechanical repair due to component failure and repeated use on area roads that are in various levels of driving condition ranging from very good to extremely poor,” said MacIsaac.

MacIsaac also explained that the cost to make the repairs on the trucks depends on the extent of the mechanical issues, which can range from minor to major depending on part availability and extent of repairs.

“Town staff make every effort to repair each unit and return it to service and are to be commended for their work. I will note that some repairs are warranty related and are required to be transported to the nearest dealer service centre. This, in turn, causes further delays as some warranty items may not be immediately available and can take days or weeks to find parts and complete repairs. We are currently sourcing a mechanical component item that is not available from the production facility and no timelines have been provided by the manufacturer as to when it will be available,” said MacIsaac.

When equipment breaks down, the town attempts to mitigate the situation by finding alternative means of providing the service.

“This will involve leasing/renting available equipment to continue operations. The current issues with regards to waste (clear bag) and recycling (blue bag) collection are directly related to breakdowns and sourcing support from local companies. The Marine Mountain Zone Waste Management Committee and all its members ask residents to be patient until all issues can be resolved,” said MacIsaac.

The town announced through social media channels on Sept. 23 that blue bag pick-up will resume in Port aux Basques on Oct. 4. The bins at the four locations in town will be removed at that point, and the town will return to its regular bi-weekly schedule for collection.

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