Iqaluit may privatize trash pick-up

Strike woes spur city to seek contractor to gather garbage.



IQALUIT — The City of Iqaluit may hire a private company to collect residents’ garbage.

The city council agreed unanimously Tuesday to request proposals from private contractors interested in permanently taking over garbage collection from the city.

Iqaluit’s chief administrative officer, Rick Butler, said council wants to find the most cost-effective way to collect trash.

After proposals from potential contractors are submitted and examined, the city may decide to keep collecting garbage itself, Butler said.

Iqaluit municipal workers, including garbage collectors, have been off the job since April 17. Garbage has been piling up in sheds, sea-cans and makeshift dumps.

Butler said Iqaluit was thinking about privatizing garbage services even before the strike began. A year ago, he said, council asked him to find ways to make the city more efficient.

But Mayor John Matthews admitted that Iqaluit’s current garbage woes are part of the reason the city is re-examining how it gathers trash.

Butler said that though it’s not required by law, the city will consult with union members before making any decision about whether to contract out trash pick-up.

The city is legally required to give affected employees three months notice before their job is turned over to a private contractor, and the contractor is required to hire the employees at their existing rates of pay.

Butler estimated it would take a week to get the request for proposals out, then two or three more weeks to receive proposals from contractors.

“This is still the analysis,” Butler cautioned. “We’re still presenting what the private sector can do it for and what we can do it for and we’ll make a decision from there.”

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