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Local kids created new garbage bin labelling option

By Monique Massiah, Strathmore Standard

Students from Crowther Memorial Junior High School have come up with a way for Strathmore residents to address their rubbish bins.


A delegation from Crowther Memorial Junior High School was added to the agenda of the Feb.21 meeting of town council where they revealed a plan to charge $5 for the creation of vinyl labels that can be placed on the bins, so that owners are able to track down their black bins, say in the event of a wind storm.

The labelling project is only an option for residents in the town and homeowners are not obligated to purchase the labels.

Teacher Michelle Baragar explained that she was representing a group of 29 Grade 8 students from the school who came up with a solution to a hot button issue in the town.

“Why are people so upset about garbage bins,” asked Baragar. She explained that students found that residents in the town were taking to social media to complain about the implementation of the new bins.

“We get a fair bit of wind in Strathmore,” she said. She noted that now all of the garbage bins look the same. The bins have a numbering system, so that town staff can collect or recover them, but there is no other form of identification on the bin.

Baragar noted that the bins belong to the town of Strathmore and not the homeowners.

“The class decided to do the presentation and ask if it can be an option for residents of Strathmore,” she said.

When the students came up with the labelling solution, there were 100 responses received within 24 hours. Baragar also explained that if successful, the program can be continued at the school, as a project year after year.

The students' idea is a great example of critical thinking and problem solving, but the issue of labelling the bins was not on the council agenda prior to the Feb. 21 meeting, and so did not allow for any other voices to be heard at the meeting, in favour, or opposed to the proposition. The town council eventually voted unanimously to approve the labelling option on the same night, without a formal cost breakdown, an explanation of how the funds of the labelling will be collected and by whom, or when the project would start.

In terms of the town's council and committee procedural bylaw, members of the public must receive notice of all meetings. In terms of the council agenda, section 38 (a) the items on the agenda for a regular business meeting shall be approved by the CAO and town clerk a minimum of seven days prior to the meeting. Items may only be removed from the agenda by a two-third vote, or added as urgent business by a two-third vote.

The aim of the procedural bylaw is to set out procedures of the orderly conduct of council to maintain a balance between informality and the requirements of legislation. The intent is to provide clarity for the council and the residents of Strathmore.

In addition, councillor Tari Cockx cautioned that the town has not made a definite choice about the sizing of their recycling carts in the future. The meeting also revealed that town staff have found a few minor defects with the bin lids and wheels.

It is unclear if the town plans to rely on the labelling system for their proposed green bins as well. In other communities like the City of Calgary, Vancouver, or Toronto, garbage bins are pre-ordered with a white space painted on the bin, so that home owners can write their address, if they choose with a permanent marker.


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