Gatineau proposes to modify waste management regulations for mixed-use buildings
Hoping to make garbage pickup easier for residents, the Service de l’environnement proposed modifications to the city’s regulation on waste management in mixed-use buildings. Presented during the Gatineau council’s plenary committee meeting on October 27, Service de l’Environnement Director Chantal Marcotte explained that the changes intend to expand collection services to all housing units and commercial spaces in Gatineau and to reduce individual waste production.
The new regulations would require residential units in mixed-use buildings to participate in the city’s waste collection system. It would also require the city to supply garbage, recycling and composting bins and to adjust its waste management tax (GMR) with a new tariffication system. Marcotte clarified that a mixed-use building is a structure consisting of at least one residential unit and one commercial space.
Currently, the city has approximately 800 mixed-use buildings combining 2,500 housing units and 1,200 commercial spaces. At present, only 79 per cent of buildings receive waste management services from the city, Marcotte said, leaving 519 units unserved. With the change, commercial spaces in mixed-use buildings with eight units or less would be able to have curb side garbage collection and be required to limit their waste to one 120 litre grey bin plus five priced bags, Marcotte said.
Buildings with nine units or more would use their own garbage containers and arrange for collection services from the private sector. Extra fees would apply if residential and commercial units use the same container, based on the extra waste compared to the expected volume during municipal waste collection cycles. Currently, household waste collection for small mixed-use buildings (1-8 units) happens every two weeks by street - allowing a maximum of one grey container.
Large mixed-use buildings (nine-plus units) are served every week on property, allowing a maximum volume of garbage per owner before extra fees are applied. Marcotte noted that mixed-use buildings served on property must be at least 70 per cent residential, adding that if rules aren’t followed by its tenants, the entire building is not served, including housing units. The main issue with the regulation as it stands is a lack of clarification regarding what the rules are and how they’re applied, Marcotte said. She added that public demand for municipal garbage collection in non-residential areas needs to be addressed.
Non-residential buildings that aren’t served by the city are currently served by the private sector, which costs more money while offering fewer options for recycling and composting – noting that those occupants don’t have access to the city’s brown and blue bins, Marcotte said. Helping around 1.9 per cent of housing units and commercial spaces in the city, Marcotte doesn’t expect the adjustments to considerably affect municipal tax rates. Delighted with the modification, Plateau councillor Maude Marquis-Bissonnette said it should help the city provide its waste collection services to the commercial sector and reduce negative environmental impacts.
Aylmer district councillor Audrey Bureau was also happy to see the city respond to an important need for residents and businesses. “A lot of units had called me to be part of our collection system” Bureau said. “We can see that we’re very proactive in listening to what residents and commercial residents are asking us.” She added that the city needs to be clear in communicating the new rules to residents and businesses. Marcotte said the city plans on calling and sending letters to residents and business owners affected by the changes.
The roll-out of the rule change involves a four-step process.
Step one – Fall of 2020 – a consultation process with municipal services affected and an official redaction of the rule change.
Step two – Winter of 2021 – the project’s presentation notice before being adopted by Municipal council.
Step three – Spring of 2021 – a communication and awareness campaign.
For step four – Summer of 2021 – implementation of the new services (new bins, tariffication system) in mixed-use buildings.