Garbage container sparks debate, apology at council

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Lisa Goudy
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Coun. Brian Swanson explains why he doesn't feel the 2014 operating budget does enough to address the city's infrastructure problems at the Jan. 27, 2014 council meeting.

At Monday’s meeting, a 15-minute debate about a garbage container ended with an apology.

Coun. Brian Swanson, who presented the minutes from the Jan. 15 meeting that had no items requiring council approval, made a motion to receive the report as presented, seconded by Coun. Heather Eby.

While discussing the motion, Coun. Candis Kirkpatrick pointed out item 4.2 regarding an email from Kassy Miller who requested another garbage container for her residence because she has a special needs child and needs another container for “medical waste.”

“It would appear that this would be the type of item, if I’m not mistaken, that would be referred to the bylaw review committee,” said Kirkpatrick. “If that is in fact the case, then I would move that item 4.2 … be referred to the bylaw review committee.”

Referral motions don’t have discussion, under city policy, but there was a discussion prior to Mayor Deb Higgins asking if anyone wanted to second the motion.

Swanson didn’t agree with sending it to the bylaw committee.

“The special needs advisory board anticipated that might be something that is not singular in nature. There might be others. Some committee members indicated they knew of situations like that,” said Swanson. “For next committee meeting (the committee will) look to establish what policies might be in place to deal with requests for additional automated garbage cans arising from circumstances that would be in the domain of the special needs advisory committee.”

Higgins said the point of the bylaw committee is to prioritize and deal with the backlog of items.

“I think this is exactly the type of issue that the bylaw and policy review committee should be looking at to be able to put in place policies and bylaws that are comprehensive and more modern than what some of ours in some cases currently are,” she said. “I think the bylaw committee will be perfectly able to prioritize what’s needed and what’s on the floor.”

Coun. Patrick Boyle wasn’t in favour of the referral motion since the committee voted to table it to the next meeting.

“They’re looking at it as a whole. They’re going to provide advice … towards council and administration. So maybe that would be the time to look at it, but it seems to me like the committee’s still working on something,” said Boyle. “Ultimately, out of this one, probably everybody wants to see the garbage can get there.”

Coun. Dawn Luhning said she didn’t want to refer it to the bylaw committee either.

“When I read this, I thought, ‘Why don’t we just give them the receptacle they wanted?’ That’s what I don’t get,” she said. “Sometimes these things where we get caught in bureaucratic red tape … is ridiculous.”

Swanson, when speaking for the second time, said it isn’t the “job of the super committee to look at everything,” referring to the bylaw committee. He then called it a “black hole.”

Higgins responded with a reminder of a policy for “respectful workplace and council chambers” and that his comment was inappropriate.

Swanson apologized for his statements.

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

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