Residents in the municipality should be well aware of the changes to our garbage pick-up program. We are slated to move from garbage bag tags to an Automated Garbage Cart Collection System by Summer 2021.

As anyone living rural can tell you, hauling a full garbage cart down a country driveway will be a problem. Those in condos are likely in the same situation.

The new garbage plan seems to be woefully short on details, so I called Central Elgin to discuss and spoke to a very friendly woman named Cathy. She answered our questions to the best of her ability, but I could tell the plans were not very well thought out.

For example, did you know that landlords are responsible for purchasing carts for their tenants, and are then supposed to find a way to charge that cost back to them?

Farmers in the area are losing their additional farm bag tags. While they will not be forced to buy a second bin for their property, they will be losing half their tags, with no reduction in their taxes (Everyone received 42 residential tags this year).

It also means farmers will have to find alternative ways of getting rid of excess garbage, such as paying to take it to the local dump, burning it, buying more tags (at $5 a tag, that can get expensive), or illegally dumping it.

Our neighbours to the east in Malahide Township got rid of extra bag tags for farms about a year and a half ago, and farmer friends there tell me they had to get creative when disposing of extra garbage.

Our neighbours to the west in Southwold don’t even need garbage bag tags.  They just place their bags at the end of their driveway.

While the garbage issue was discussed at multiple Council meetings, I wish they had not made the decision until in-person meetings could resume. It seems a lot of people learned about the changes to the garbage program after the fact.

As it is, residents of Central Elgin have until Wednesday, January 27, 2021 to register their choice of cart size with the municipality. Those who do not respond will be automatically purchasing the medium sized cart.

When we spoke to the municipality a second time, the lady on the other end of the phone said she thinks the cost of a cart will go on residents’ property tax bills (she admitted she wasn’t 100 per cent sure about this).

As a rural family of four, we do our best to compost what we can, and burn what is allowed, but with diapers and all that, we still put out close to two bags a week. Until my son is out of diapers, I see no way around it.

Will a medium cart be large enough for us? I have no idea.

The carts are on display at the municipal office at 450 Sunset Drive, as well as the Port Stanley and Belmont arenas, so make sure you take a look before January 27, the closing date to choose your size.  Personally, I wish the flyer the municipality included with our bag tags actually told you how many bags of garbage each cart holds. It would be easier to figure out the size we need.