The City of Brandon is cracking down on scofflaws who don’t bring their garbage bins back into their yard after back lane pickup.
Residents will receive two warnings of non-compliance before a fine is handed out for a third offence.
"I still see quite a few (bins) in the lanes, but we are working at it," said Ian Broome, the city’s public works director. "All areas (of Brandon) have got some that are still challenging us … we will get to them."
Fines are $50, but if paid within 15 days it’s cut in half to $25. For a fourth offence, the fine is raised to $100, or $50 within 15 days.
Broome estimates between 250-300 homes have received letters warning of non-compliance. Fines have also been handed out.
The city switched from a five-day collection cycle to a four-day cycle in November. Residents now have their refuse and recycling bins picked up on the same day of the week every week.
Brandon resident Kathy Davis said the new cycle has been a great change.
"I like the four-day (cycle) because we know exactly what day, every week. It’s not changing," she said, adding they always bring their bin back onto the property the same day.
As part of the strategic waste management plan, the city requires residents with back lane pickup to store the bins assigned to them on their property on non-collection days. Residents must place their bin in the back laneway no more than 12 hours prior to collection day and must return the bins to their property no more than 24 hours after being emptied on collection day.
Broome said the rules have been put in place for efficiency and also aesthetics. Picking up bins that are nearly empty is a waste of resources.
"We have picked up containers with one bag in them, so it’s part of our efficiency and part of our strategic waste management plan," he said. "We did do a study within the department and … more than half of the bins, 56 per cent didn’t need to be dumped."
If bins aren’t full, residents are asked to wait until a different collection day to put them out.
Georgina Higheagle was not aware that she could be fined for not bringing the bins back in the yard. She said she will be sure to comply with the bylaw.
"I don’t want to get dinged for something … so simple," she said.
As for the fine, Higheagle said it’s reasonable especially if people are given two warning letters.
Residents were given a bit of a grace period before the warnings were issued.
"We did give people a few months to make accommodations on it if needed," Broome said. "We are still working with individuals on what we can and can’t do to help them out. We’re not all about going out and getting fines as a source of income for the department, we are working with them trying to come up with a solution that works best for both."
Broome said they are rolling out the compost collection program and don’t want to have to ask for more funds and more equipment.
"We want to do the composting as well without having to go to the taxpayers and ask for more money to do it," he said.
For people with mobility issues, the city has a program to help bring the bins to and from the lane.
"If there’s no other able-bodied person in your house and you … have a heart condition or you’re just impaired for mobility, then we will set (the bins) in and out for you," Broome said.
An estimated 30 households have taken advantage of the program.
"We worked on this for two years and as we’re going we’re still learning that’s for sure, but we’re trying to do our due diligence to give people options," he said.
Apartment complexes also have to follow the bylaw, however Broome said they are looking into other options for complexes with seven or more units as they have had some challenges with the new system.