The City of Yellowknife will be charging more to discard waste at the dump as of Jan. 1.
The price that residents pay will rise to $15 from $10 after council amended its Fees and Charges Bylaw at its regular meeting on Monday.
Coun. Shauna Morgan found support from her peers in proposing the increase to $15 after Coun. Niels Konge initially suggested $11.
“I think that would be a reasonable charge for residential loads and would bring it a little bit closer to both the monthly fee solid waste levy, although still far below the commercial rates,” Morgan said.
Commercial rates will rise to $125.75 per tonne, up from $121. The $40 minimum for commercial vehicles will not change, however.
Konge said the city was putting an uneven share of the fees on commercial vehicles, creating what he called a “two-tiered system.” As head of his own construction firm, when he prices a roofing job on a home, he has to take into account the cost of taking shingles to the dump based on higher commercial fees.
“The homeowner can throw those same shingles into the back of their pickup truck and dump them for $10 bucks. That is a big of a problem and I can tell you a lot of people do that because there are a substantial savings on it,” said Konge.
It’s a situation that’s making businesses pay more than their fair share and likely to increase the chances that commercial customers will dump their waste in illegal locations around town, he said.
Chris Greencorn, director of public works and engineering, acknowledged that charges at the solid waste facility are not evenly accounted for because the city hasn’t had the capability to register the change in tonnage with a weigh-in and weigh-out scale.
He said the department has been trying to keep residential rates low to ensure people are using the facility and to curb illegal dumping in other areas of town.
“So we have tried to maintain the status quo for now,” Greencorn said.
That’s going to change in the new year, however, as a weigh-in and weigh-out scale – anticipated to cost about $300,000 – is expected to be in place by summer.
“In conjunction with (the installation of the scale) we will be working on differential tipping fees associated with it so we hope the fee structure will change somewhat,” Greencorn said, noting that the commercial and residential fees are still likely to remain.
Details, he added, are to be worked out as the department conducts a review of other jurisdictions and comes up with best practices for weighing in and weighing out.
Coun. Steve Payne said he expects city to face criticism as the new charges are implemented.
“I’m sure we are going to get some opposition for it in the beginning, but I think this is more than fair,” he said.
All money collected goes to the solid waste management fund which covers the operation of the solid waste facility.
The fund currently has a $12.6 million deficit.