Rose Simpson: Ottawa’s garbage – A simple case of Organomics


Rose Simpson’s column appears every Tuesday morning on the OttawaStart Blog. She also blogs at Rose’s Cantina.

Delivery crews loading green bins into trailers for delivery. City of Ottawa photo.

I was thinking this week that the councilors who run this city should simply go down the road to the Rideau Carleton Slots and pour all our money into the machines.
At least they’d have a chance of winning.
Anyway, it would be more fun than sinking it into a ridiculous garbage deal.

As taxpayers, we pay a lot of money to our city manager.
The man makes nearly $350,000 a year to be smart, or at least accountable.
That’s more than twice as much as the mayor.
So how does he have the nerve to sit there and tell Ottawa City Council that it’s not his fault that our tax money is being dumped into a sinkhole called Orgaworld, an organic waste collecting service that doesn’t take most of the household waste we produce.
We pay millions to this company to take away our potato peelings, but not our diapers, lawn trimmings or dog shit (which is a natural composter). It doesn’t take that stuff because it’s too stinky. We have to put it in our garbage and leave it beside the barbecue for a fortnight, making sure it gets even stinkier in situ.
Kent Kirkpatrick merely shrugged when told by the city auditor that this deal smells to high heaven. It wasn’t his fault. It was the fault of city staff who don’t work here anymore.
That’s like your kid blaming the broken vase on a poltergeist.
Isn’t the city manager ultimately responsible for things like this?
When told we had to sign a 20 year deal, didn’t he say, wow, that’s a long time.
Can we buy a warranty, at least.
I’d hate to see his cell phone contract.
In any event, the auditor is suggesting that we break the contract and go with a cheaper service, one that will pick up all the waste. But Kirkpatrick railed at this, saying it would cost us $8 million to cancel the contract.
Why a 20-year deal exactly?
Why couldn’t we have signed a five year deal?
Oh, I guess it’s because the taxpayers are actually paying to build the facility.
That’s what governments do, right?

This might be fine, except that nobody likes the Green Bin program other than a few tree huggers. Most people like their garbage to simply disappear. They don’t want it stinking up their garage. They aren’t crazy about the maggots in the summer and the frozen banana/coffee ground/chicken guts mess in the winter.
I don’t mind it personally. I like to think that I’m doing my part by sorting my garbage though it hardly compensates for the number of people who don’t do it, including all those who live in high rises that surround my neighborhood and the Shameless crew who live next door.
But this is a real cock up.
The mayor must be shaking in his support hose, thinking that he nearly got through an entire term without a scandal or an embarrassment.
Just one New York minute, Mayor Milhouse.
I’m afraid that while the former staffers are playing golf or taking their kids to Disney, Ottawa City Council will be wearing this one.
When is the election again?
Rose Simpson

See also: Ottawa Garbage Guide
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Rose Simpson

Rose Simpson is an Ottawa blogger and broadcaster who tells it like it frickin' is. She is a lapsed Liberal, a contrarian and a fan of the scorched earth policy regarding Rob Ford. Rose can be heard on occasion on CBC's DNTO, BBC World Service on Have Your Say...and TMZ. She also blogs at Rose's Cantina.


1 Response

  1. Great read! It was a waste of money right from the start, knowing that most people wouldn't even bother to use the program. You have to wonder who really runs city hall, council or the staffers. And if the answer is the ladder, one has to wonder whose pockets are possibly being lined.

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