Dawson Mayor Wayne Potoroka stands for a portrait by the Yukon River. (Maura Forest/Yukon News file)

Dawson Mayor Wayne Potoroka stands for a portrait by the Yukon River. (Maura Forest/Yukon News file)

Dawson unable to negotiate deal on garbage pickup

Municipality scrambles to begin its own service

Dawson City staff are working to ensure waste collection in the community happens as soon as possible as it takes over the service after negotiations with the city’s former contractor for the service broke down Friday without a deal being reached.

“Nobody wanted things to play out this way,” Dawson Mayor Wayne Potoroka said in a Nov. 3 interview.

In a Nov. 1 statement published on the town’s website, mayor and council said the town had been prepared to meet the terms being sought by Ed’s Repair and Services for a new contract.

That would have seen a three-year deal with Ed’s Repair and Services paid a rate of $120 per hour to pick up both residential and commercial waste in town as the company has done since 2005.

“The only change from the past arrangement was the reduced frequency of commercial-waste pickup from unlimited pickup to a set weekly schedule, a standard exit clause for both parties, reporting requirements and the need for insurance and WCB,” Potoroka said noting much of that are standard parts of any contract.

The move to a weekly commercial waste pickup service was proposed for a couple of reasons, Potoroka said.

Without a set schedule in place, it was difficult to estimate how much the service would cost taxpayers, Potoroka said, noting that in the last 10 years cost of the service has continued to rise with unlimited pickup available. While the price the town was paying on an hourly basis did not increase, the cost was going up due to commercial waste being picked up more often.

Potoroka highlighted the importance of trying to better control and reduce the amount of waste going into the landfill.

“We have to stop producing as much waste as we are,” he said.

This was one way to encourage some of the larger producers in the community to cut down on waste.

“We’re trying to extend the life of that facility,” he said of the landfill, noting recent estimates put that lifespan at between 20 and 40 years.

The situation now has the town working to provide its own pickup service to about 1,400 customers and while efforts are underway to make that happen as soon as possible, Potoroka said the community is continuing to wait for a truck that is set to come in and efforts to get some casual employees in.

The previous residential service was offered on Monday and Wednesday (depending on neighbourhood) and Potoroka said the public works department is hoping to have things in place this week to begin pickup again.

“We’re still getting all the pieces in place,” he said, noting the town has been able to install some garbage bins around town after those provided by Ed’s Repair and Services were removed.

Residents are being asked to store their waste until the service is in place or they may also take their waste to the landfill. Similarly, Potoroka said he’s hopeful those who live in areas not on the pickup service will also take their waste to the landfill on their way into town rather than bringing it to some of the bins in town.

The reaction of Dawson residents to the situation has ranged from a number who have been understanding to others who are expressing their anger by leaving waste on the doorstep of city hall.

As Potoroka noted in the interview and in a Facebook post, municipal employees who arrived at work to soiled adult diapers and other garbage didn’t deserve that. Neither did the staff who had to deal with aggressive phone calls over the situation.

“Dawson is well served by the people working for us,” Potoroka stated in his post. “That small crew manages complicated infrastructure, projects, and tasks and provides the services we’d be sunk without, all while trying to meet our outsized expectations. And this year they did all that in the middle of a global pandemic. Tough sledding. Let’s remember that and consider giving them a pat on the back for all the hard work they put in on our behalf.”

While Ed Blattler, owner of Ed’s Repair and Service, did not return phone calls from the News, in an Oct. 19 statement to Dawson residents he argued he could not continue to offer the service without a contract in place and would withdraw the services as of Nov. 1 if a three-year contract could not be reached. He took issue with the city seeking records for the services provided, noting the town’s September invoice had not yet been paid as it was requesting the details before payment would be made.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

Dawson Citygarbage

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited internet options beginning Dec. 1. (Yukon News file)
Unlimited internet for some available Dec. 1

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited… Continue reading

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
An inside look at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre

As the active COVID-19 case count grew last week, so too did… Continue reading

Conservation officers search for a black bear in the Riverdale area in Whitehorse on Sept. 17. The Department of Environment intends to purchase 20 semi-automatic AR-10 rifles, despite the inclusion of the weapons in a recently released ban introduced by the federal government, for peace officers, such as conservation officers. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Environment Minister defends purchase of AR-10 rifles for conservation officers

The federal list of banned firearms includes an exception for peace officers

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Most Read