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City looks into garbage loophole

Councillors want to close a loophole in the city’s organic-waste strategy that exempts low-rise condominium and townhouse developers from including three-stream waste management in new projects.

Builders of medium-density developments of this sort are not required to install the capacity to handle green bin waste, though they are required to provide facilities for garbage and blue box recyclables.

Council has asked staff to compile a report on the status of the city’s plans to apply a three-stream program to new medium-density housing.

Staff will also examine how the city might apply a three-stream requirement retroactively to standing medium- and high-density residential buildings.

“Essentially, they’re responsible for their own garbage and recycling,” Councillor Alan Shefman said in a phone interview. “We don’t have the force to say, ‘We’re collecting it so you have to do it this way’.

“We’re looking at ways that we can move in that sector to both ensure the new ones have three-stream recycling abilities but also how to retrofit other ones that are standing already.”

Nick Sampogna, a real estate developer with Concord-based Janik, agrees that, while three-stream recycling was not a requirement in the past, it should be.

“That’s not included right now,” he said Tuesday, adding an interim step is probably needed. “It’s difficult because what you need (now) is to re-educate the people to bring it to the garbage area in the building.”

Currently under construction, Sampogna’s five-storey Highlands of Woodbridge, near Kipling and Woodbridge Aves., is exempt from the three-stream requirement.

Though the city has made some progress on the three-stream issue — Vaughan has had a three-stream policy in place since spring for new high-density residential buildings such as condominium towers — Shefman said there is still work to be done: parks and other public spaces are without three-stream waste diversion.

“I understand there is a report coming forward very shortly from our staff on what that might look like,” he said. “My expectation and my hope is that we will be funding that in our 2008 budget.

“We’ve got to do it ourselves, in our own buildings, in our own public spaces and, of course, we’ve got to design our new city hall so it is fully integrated into the system that we’re building now.”

Even as the city takes these steps to improve its handling of three-stream waste, the Recycling Council of Ontario recognized Vaughan last week for its waste-diversion programs with a Promotion Gold Award and a Municipal Bronze Award.

Vaughan Today
Online: December 4, 2007 [link]