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