Minden Hills residents gave the township an overall grade of C- in a recent waste services survey.
Questionnaire results were presented to the Feb. 11 committee of the while meeting.
Manager of waste facilities, Tara Stephen, said they asked people: whether rules are easy to understand; trip is quick; access to diversion programs; site is clean and organized; hours are plentiful; staff are friendly and helpful; and disposal is low cost.
She said the C- was a disappointing score to her, and she and council would like to see an A or A+ “so, we do have a bit of work to do here.”
In addition, people responding to the call for their opinion gave the municipality a D+ when it came to rules being easy to follow.
Stephen said, “and we have some work to do here.” She said in the past, rules have not been applied consistently and they have been working towards more standardized policies and procedures in the past year and will continue to do so moving forward.
Stephen said they had 429 valid responses, which she said was excellent for a community of Minden Hills’ size. The survey was conducted last November. “
We garnered a lot of really thoughtful feedback from our community that I think are going to provide some excellent insights into our future planning over the next few years,” she said.
Stephen said 60 per cent of respondents were seasonal, 38 per cent permanent and two per cent businesses.
One of the interesting responses she highlighted was that 26 per cent said they planned to convert cottages to houses and move to Minden Hills full-time in the short to long-term. Fourteen per cent plan to do it in the next five years. She said it could impact demographics, shifting to more full-time than seasonal residents in future and that will impact waste services. She attributed this to people being able to work remotely; retirement; getting out of the city and COVID-19.
“As this population shifts for us, we just need to be aware, when we’re looking at our waste services, about whether or not the services we are providing and the way we are providing them are still doing a good job for the type of community we have.”
Stephen said only six per cent of people are taking advantage of the current three garbage bag limit, and the township could consider reducing it. She said it would help with diversion rates and the township could make money off people bringing three or more bags.
She said they also learned that people think the website is not useable, and information unreliable and disorganized. They’ve made improvements the past year, “but there’s still room to do better.” They were also surprised to hear that 25 per cent of people get information by word-ofmouth and 10 per cent from other forms of social media, not township-generated. She suggested council go ahead with the annual waste guide and that an e-mail newsletter or email reminders might be helpful.
Stephen was, however, pleased that the public wants them to focus most on waste reduction and waste reuse. She said reduce is by far the most important of the three Rs.
“This shows that this community understands that hierarchy and understands that our most important next step is to reduce the amount of waste we’re actually generating in this community before we start focusing on recycling.”
She said other themes were: a need to improve the hazardous waste system; an interest in organic waste programs; some desire for curbside collection and collaboration with other townships.
Mayor Brent Devolin said with an overall rating of C- there is room for improvement.
“I think most of us that have been around for a few years, if we had done the same thing a couple of years ago, I’m not sure we would have even got a C- in this.”
Coun. Jennifer Hughey said she wanted the survey results shared with the general public. “I think it’s very important for people to be able to see this information.”