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City frustrated with trees, brush left at depot

 Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe

Trees and brush have been incorrectly disposed of at the Lacombe Recycle Depot, leaving city staff to clean it up and haul the organic waste out to Prentiss Landfill. (City of Lacombe)

Trees and brush have been incorrectly disposed of at the Lacombe Recycle Depot, leaving city staff to clean it up and haul the organic waste out to Prentiss Landfill. (City of Lacombe)

The City of Lacombe wants to see area residents and contractors take their trees and brush to Prentiss Landfill, rather than dumping them at the Lacombe Recycle Depot.

While the depot has been well used by residents and generally used for its intended purpose, frustration over contractors using the site to dump large loads of trees and brush spurred debate over the acceptance of organic materials at council’s last regular meeting.

Lyla Peter, acting director of planning and operations, said it wasn’t a new concern in the city.

“There have been concerns over the depot accepting organics over the last few years because the cost is borne by City of Lacombe taxpayers,” said Peter, adding the site can be used and accessed by not only residents, but companies, and those from outside the city.

In a recent case, a contractor used the depot to dispose of trees and brush, which took City employees 100 loads to haul to the Prentiss Landfill, costing $5,500.

“It’s not a rare occurrence, but it is the largest volume from one contractor that we’ve seen at any point in recent memory,” she said. “While we’re concerned about the cost, the dumping is completely legal and we accept material from anybody and any contractors.”

Still, councillors sought a solution to a problem which diverts city crews away from other projects and ultimately costs taxpayers.

“I find it a tremendous waste of time and resources to put something back into a truck after someone else dropped it there,” said Coun. Grant Harder. “We really need to scratch our heads and find a way to deter people or encourage them to continue down the road and drop their brush at Prentiss rather than driving it (to the depot) and having us put it back in a truck.

“The thing that bothers me the most is private contractors drop items — shingles, furniture, and things of that nature — that have no business being there. We get to charge our taxpayers to take it back out to Prentiss.”

Coun. Bill McQuesten suggested that if council was going to get serious about controlling the site, the only solution was to limit access.

At present, the depot is an unmanned facility, open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The site, however, is also in close proximity to the Water Bulk fill station, which water haulers use at all times of the day, making limiting access not a viable option.

Coun. Reuben Konnik said he’s considered fencing the site off, too, but believes that people would just find somewhere else to dump materials other than the depot or landfill.

Ultimately, council made the decision to investigate changing the signage to let residents, contractors and visitors to the area that diverting brush and trees to Prentiss is an option.

The Prentiss landfill does accept trees and brush at no cost.

Echo Energy Stage

The Lacombe Performing Arts Centre Foundation Board won’t be reimbursed for permit and inspection fees for the construction of the Echo Energy Stage.

The board made the request to the City of Lacombe, however, in keeping with decisions made in the past for other projects, including for local non-profits and associations, council turned the refund — a total of $441 — down.

“Obviously the Echo Energy Stage is a great community project. It has improved the downtown and is a valuable asset to the community,” said acting Chief Adminstrative Officer Matthew Goudy. “However, it is the City’s policy that all projects pay for permits, even municipal projects.”

Coun. Grant Harder excused himself from the vote, citing potential conflict of interest. 

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