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Council briefs
Containers said not fit for garbage

Mike W. Bryant
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (May 05/06) - It seems the new garbage containers the city placed along Franklin Ave. last year aren't working out very well.

Facilities manager Andrew Morton appeared before the city's Downtown Enhancement Committee last month to inform them that the green garbage receptacles placed at each intersection between 48th and 53rd Street need to be replaced.

NNSL Photo/graphic

Coun. Dave McCann says the new garbage containers downtown are too small and too hard to empty. The city bought about 28 of the containers last year for $400 each. - Mike W. Bryant/NNSL photo

Morton couldn't be reached for comment, but city planner Dave Jones - who attended the April 11 meeting - said staff were complaining about locks on the containers freezing up, making them difficult to open.

The openings on the containers are also too small and their overall size is less than desirable, according to information found in the committee minutes.

Jones said the containers cost the city about $400 each. Between 26 and 28 were purchased.

Coun. Dave McCann, who sits on the committee, said the railings along the edge of the receptacles appear to make perfect dining roosts for dumpster-diving birds.

"They're sort of custom-designed for a bird to sit on and peck away at," said McCann.

According to the minutes, Morton recommended the receptacles be removed to various city park locations and replaced with a "more functional and aesthetically pleasing container."

He also recommended a smaller number of recycling-type containers be placed on Franklin Ave.

Changes to the way city council conducts public hearings into re-zoning requests and other land matters remains a contentious issue.

Councillors are divided on whether a bylaw vote can proceed immediately following a public hearing, or should they wait for a later date.

At a committee meeting Monday, Councillors Wendy Bisaro, Mark Heyck and Kevin O'Reilly expressed a desire to wait, while Councillors Doug Witty, Bob Brooks, and Dave McCann didn't see why council should.

Councillors Alan Woytuik and Blake Lyons were absent.

Prior to last year, a re-zoning change required a public hearing followed by an issue-by-issue ruling before a bylaw could be read into second reading.

Council would debate rulings based on presentations made by the public at a later meeting, and then those rulings would be formally presented later yet. The whole process often took weeks to complete.

The territorial government has since relaxed the rules, allowing council to proceed more quickly.

O'Reilly says that's a mistake.

"(Some councillors) don't see the difference between a regular council meeting and a public hearing.

"That we should just debate and discuss it right away. Why sit down and think about and craft some responses?"

Mayor Gord Van Tighem agreed that council needed to debate more before a vote.

Coun. Dave McCann's long, lonely quest to establish an outdoor public market may finally find salvation through a private operator.

McCann has been pushing a public market for years, but with little support from fellow councillors.

Some feel it would interfere with City Hall staff's already busy workload.

The plan was to hold the market Saturdays outside City Hall.

A recent search for interested non-profit groups to run the market proved futile, but the city did receive interest from a yet unnamed business owner.

On Monday, councillors decided to put the market scheme out for tender yet again - this time, to see if any other for-profit businesses are interested.

"I almost have mixed feelings about it in some respects because of the lateness of it all," said McCann. "This is the kind of thing we should've been doing months ago."