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Statement from Burlington Mayor Meed Ward Regarding an Update on Leaf Collection Program

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I would like to provide residents with an update on our leaf collection program.

The program began on Nov. 4 and was originally scheduled for completion on Dec. 13. All dates are weather dependent.

The early snow storm on Nov. 11 caused the program to be suspended for seven work days as the equipment and operators were needed to respond to the snow storm. The schedule was amended, resulting in one collection for Zone 1, none for Zone 4, and one collection for Zones 2 and 3. Further winter weather currently forecast for this weekend may cause further delays or cancellations to the leaf collection, dependent on the amount of snow that falls.

Staff are evaluating the program and that includes an assessment after leaf collection of the areas that were not completed and will provide options for further clean up during the winter season, if weather permits, or a spring pick up for consideration by Burlington Council.

Staff resumed loose leaf collection on Nov. 20 after enough snow had melted. Out of the 5 weeks that we normally allocate to completing the collection, we have already lost 2 weeks. Once cold weather with freezing temperatures and snow arrives, the sweepers and leaf vactor units cannot operate effectively in below zero degree temperatures.

Although the city does it’s very best to try to ensure that every area receives at least one pick up, unfortunately this year, the area marked as zone 4 will not have a pick up. All other areas of the city have or will receive at least one pickup, and that work is ongoing, and remains weather-dependent.

We have also experienced this in the other years where the leaf collection program has been cut very short when winter has come early.

As your Mayor, I fully understand this decision has many of our residents feeling dissatisfied and upset. I assure you, any decision of this nature is not taken lightly by our staff and is carefully considered and balanced against every available resource, weather and the priority of winter road and sidewalk clearing.

Your council did ask staff to investigate every possibility to continue and complete the full program this year, including increased overtime, contracted services and other mechanisms. This has not been possible, leading to the decisions for this year.

Our leaf collection program is currently being reviewed through an audit and accountability fund the provincial government has made available to municipalities. We expect to receive the recommendations of this audit soon and I will share the results once they are available.

We are also reviewing the program and will be discussing it during budget this year to determine what resources and associated costs are required to provide the full service in light of unpredictable weather.

Residents who are physically able to, can help us with leaf clean-up by bagging any remaining leaves for collection by Halton Region Waste Service or consider mulching with the leaves. Please consider working with your neighbours and helping them bag leaves, particularly if you know anyone who is unable to do so on their own. Halton Region has confirmed they have extended their yard waste collection service until Dec. 20.

We thank you for your patience and understanding. For updates to the Loose Leaf Collection schedule and map, please visit www.burlington.ca/leafcollection.

— Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

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*Posted by John Bkila, the Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist.

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10 thoughts on “Statement from Burlington Mayor Meed Ward Regarding an Update on Leaf Collection Program”

  1. I would like to thank the crews for doing a great job doing the leaf pickup . especially when the winter weather which is beyond their control

  2. Again, if any services have to be cut, it will be the the suburbs that take the hit.
    I live north of Fairview/Plains and south of Dundas. I read things like Burlington garbage pickup is Monday, up here it’s Thursday.
    I’m told Burlington has a bus that will take seniors shopping on Wednesdays. That service is only for those living south of Fairview.
    If the buses are running late, sometimes they will short turn them when they reach the Fairview Go station and without warning, we are left waiting an extra 20 minutes for the next bus. But, people south of Fairview will get their bus on schedule. I take cabs now.
    I don’t live in Burlington, I live in the suburbs.

  3. With yesterdays announcement crews would be working overtime yesterday and today to get the leaves picked up before the snow on Sunday Dec.1 and still no sign of any crews here on Stephenson at 4PM Sat. Nov. 30th. I would think since cancelling two areas they would be caught up . I think this program should be cancelled in its entirety in the future. We work to get the leaves to the curb only to see them blown away in the two weeks they sit there.

  4. Like all issues being considered and decided upon at City Hall, this issue needs to be assessed via a climate/GHG reduction lens.

  5. Rather than making leaf collection the city’s responsibility, why not offer a rebate to households to purchase leaf mulchers. There seems to be a few available for under $200. Homeowners could then take care of their own leaves on their own time and provide mulch to their own property. This would greatly reduce the burden on the city.

  6. I would agree with the previous comment, many residents in Zone 1 did not have leaves to collect on the first collection date as they had not yet fallen. I still see many leaves on the curb in Zone 1 that were raked there in expectation of the second scheduled pick up. Residents are not bagging these and they will be around all winter to clog the drains and perhaps cause flooding. I expect they will hinder plowing and will be a real mess in the spring.
    We need to find a better solution as a City, pushing the problem to the Region to handle will not work.

  7. As a resident I am very surprised we even have this leaf pick up program still going. I bag my leaves every year. I feel the man power including equipment gas and trucks are a precious waste of money for the most important time of the year soon upon us winter should be the only priority for the cities help. When the leaves fall the weather for the most part is doable to get out and take care of our own lawns. That’s my view.

  8. I think the city needs to move the first collection to a later date. The trucks basically drove down our street and the workers gazed at the trees that still had all their leaves intact. What a waste of time and effort, not to mention tax payers money. When the leaves finally came down and everyone dutifully raked them to the road we were then told there wouldn’t be a second leaf pickup, when in actual fact there never was a fiirst one.

  9. If the City decides to cancel leaf collection the streets and drains will be blocked when the snow and ice arrives. It’s now too late to suggest we bag the mess now.

    1. The leaf service is unsatisfactory and frustrating. We end up handling leaves three or four times, raking and piling leaves by the road for the first pickup, raking and piling leaves for the second pickup, raking the leaves again to the street because the machine does not come and so leaves blow back onto properties, and now it seems we will have to spend more time “bagging” the leaves.

      Throughout all this, there has been not one leaf pickup in our neighbourhood which is one of the most heavily treed areas in the city,

      Surely, after experiencing this fiasco several times over the years, the city could come up with a much better service.

      Or maybe we should just go back to burning them! (I mean the leaves of course, not the politicians!)

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