Trash talk dominates discussion at City council

Plenty of debate and cost associated with placement of one garbage can

Barely a word was spoken by Langley City council about spending $100,000 on renovating the Sendall Garden house at its July 23 meeting, but there was plenty of discussion about whether to place an additional garbage can along the trails of Nicomekl floodplain.

A request by Councillor Ted Schaffer for three garbage bins to be placed in various parts of the Nicomekl floodplain trails not only warranted a two page report, it also carried with it a lengthy discussion about the trash cans.

In the end, council went with staff’s recommendation to install one garbage can at the south end of the pedestrian bridge at about 206A Street, south of the Langley Community Services Building. The cost is more than $400 when labour is factored in.

“I’ve been after this for five months and now here we have a report on trash cans from the CEO of the City who makes, what $140,000 a year?” said Schaffer.

He said he walks the floodplain every day, which is eight to 12 kilometres.

“The report on these cans was $1,000 to $2,000. I question government and this is a perfect example.

“Instead of making a lengthy report just put them in.” Three cans would cost the City $1,747. Total staff time is 39 hours per year, at an hourly rate of $38.82 per hour.

It was Mayor Peter Fassbender who requested CEO Francis Cheung write the report.

“I felt it needed it. The report was not cheap but council needed the full picture,” said Fassbender.

Councillor Gayle Martin said the whole conversation is “ridiculous.”

“Let’s deal with serious stuff,” said Martin.  “The floodplain isn’t full of garbage. It’s not our job to tell staff what to do.”

The report found that the garbage cans in the floodplain weren’t getting used and often parks staff would come to clean them and they would be empty.

The following item on the agenda was to put $100,000 into renovating the rustic Sendall Garden house, which was recently  vacated by its last caretaker.

According to the City’s report, Sendall Gardens house is an iconic feature. Over the years, the house has been rented to City employees who, as a condition of the rental agreement, served as a caretaker for the park.

But the most recent tenant has moved out and an inspection of the house showed that there is about $100,000 worth of renovations that would allow for a new caretaker to move in.

The report says this action is only a short term plan and other options for the house should be considered in the future including demolishing the home or opening up a portion of it for rental community use.

Council also voted in favour to look for funding from senior levels of government, from community groups and service clubs like Rotary.

Councillor Dave Hall said it better not be that all this work is done and it gets torn down later. Tearing it down and building a new building is one of staff’s long term suggestions.