Red Deer’s unprecedented snowfall this season is once again making waves.
Monday marked the first time residents across the entire city had to switch up the way they handle garbage and recycling collections.
Those who typically have their waste picked up in their back lanes or alleys are now being asked to put their garbage and recycle bins in the front of their households for regular collection.
Snow, slush and windrows in the narrow back alleys were making it nearly impossible for trucks to make their rounds.
Every single collector truck was stuck in the soft, melting snow last Wednesday, said Waste Management superintendent Janet Whitesell, and some took nearly two hours to dig out, sparking the decision to cease using the back lanes.
“As to my knowledge, the city has never had to do something like this before,” Whitesell said.
This change affects 70 per cent of Red Deer’s households.
“Up front” collection will continue until further notice and is expected to follow through into the spring.
There was a surface plow of back alleys over the holiday season, wrapping up on Jan. 10, but with temperatures above 0C last week, the slushy snow was creating too big a mess for the heavy trucks.
Windrows from plows were making it nearly impossible to turn corners, on top of that, Whitesell added.
About 95 per cent of customers were missed by collections last week due to these problems.
To make up for missed waste pickup, the city hosted a number of free garbage and recycling dropoff stations throughout Red Deer on Saturday. About 775 people used this service, Whitesell said, with the Deer Park location being the most popular with a turnout of 550.
“Our intention is to serve our customers as best we can and with this move we believe we can get caught up and stay fairly on track for the rest of the winter,” Whitesell said. “That’s not to say it won’t come without it’s hiccups. It’s not ideal and we understand it’s a big change for people and that they have questions.”
Whitesell advises residents to set their bins in an accessible and visible area in the front of their yards, trying to not block pedestrians or vehicle traffic.
She noted there are also no bag limitations at the moment.
On Monday, city plows were scraping snow off residential roads, right down to the pavement in Vanier Woods and Vanier East as part of full plow campaign for residential streets that kicked off last week.
Morrisroe Extension, Deer Park Estates and Devonshire were also cleared on Monday as part of the P4 schedule (collectors, transit routes and residential streets adjacent to schools) with Davenport and Deer Park Village next on the list.
Windrows will be placed on the even side of streets this year with adequate access for driveways. Windrows will also be found on the north or west side of streets for cul-de-sacs or other streets where there are only even or odd-numbered homes.
Plowing continues today for local residential streets in the Lancaster Green and Lonsdale neighbourhoods.
The full plow campaign is to be completed within 40 days.
For a complete schedule and map of up-to-date road clearing, visit www.reddeer.ca.