Monday afternoon, Finance Committee dedicated more time discussing and questioning a (potential) curb side* recycling program. After two hours, a resolution to recommend** a blue bin program was presented. While I have issues with the manner in which our Administration is suggesting we implement and operate the program, I support the concept and I believed that Council should deliberate the program with broader considerations. As such, I voted in favour of the resolution. However, the resolution was defeated 6-3 (Spearman, Miyashiro, Iwaskiw, Parker, Hyggen and Mauro - Mearns, Carlson, Coffman).
Where does that leave us? It actually puts everything - blue bin, green bin, both bins, no bins - back on the table and, I suspect, we will see resolutions now presented and debated at City Council. Which is fine. Spirited - but respectful - debate is the healthiest thing for democracy ... so your City Council is certainly doing its part to improve local democratic health!
As I stated in my previous blog, I envision a community that has curb side program (and that's not hard to see). But Lethbridge has an unique local political culture. Many residents perceive high tax rates for for few services, and little appreciation for the value of the 'common good' inherent in any tax structure. The result is that we have a culture of scepticism towards government innovation and enterprise.
As an elected representative, it's my job to weigh these conditions against, in this case, the policy of curb side recycling. Is there a solution? I believe there are many, and I am putting one in front of my colleagues this week, for their input and feedback.
* Recyclables are still garbage, but garbage that has a value.
** The process used to investigate and debate issues with greater detail involves City Council meeting as Finance Committee or Community Issues Committee (CIC). The form and structure of these meetings permit greater opportunity for debate, enquiry and conversation. City Council, sitting as Finance or CIC, does not have the authority to make final decisions for the Organization (City of Lethbridge). Any resolution passed at a Finance or CIC meeting MUST be debated and approved at a Regular Meeting of City Council.