By DAVID JUDD
Norfolk’s new garbage bylaw has no teeth — at least for now.
County councillors on Oct. 22 approved a bylaw setting out rules for garbage and blue box collection.
But they held off implementing fines ranging from $200 to $500 to enforce the rules.
Councillors expressed concerns about residents facing $200 fines for common infractions like putting out garbage before 7 p.m. on the day before garbage collection or permitting containers to topple in the wind and scatter garbage onto neighbours’ lawns.
And to some councillors the proposed $300 fine for scavenging cans, bottles and other valuable items from blue boxes seemed harsh.
Councillors postponed deciding on the fines until county staff provides more information about the fines and how they would be enforced.
Norfolk currently has no power to fine people who break the rules for garbage pickup and blue box recycling.
County staff had assured councillors that the fines would be used as a last resort in problematic situations.
For example, the county would act if neighbours complained about folks frequently putting garbage at the curb too early, permitting animals to get into it and strew it across lawns.
The county wouldn’t fine someone who takes a bottle from a blue box, Eric D’Hondt, Norfolk’s general manager of public works and environmental services, previously told councillors.
The $300-fine is aimed at professional scavengers, he said.
Scrounging valuable items from blue boxes takes away revenue that helps pay for recycling, Mr. D’Hondt said.
But councillors last week voiced concerns about fining residents for minor infractions like occasionally permitting their garbage to blow onto neighbours’ yards.
Port Dover Coun. John Wells said residents view the proposed fines as another way for government to get money out of them.
“More and more people have less and less faith in government,” he said.
Coun. Wells added in an interview that most people don’t see a problem with people taking cans and bottles from blue boxes.
“If we don’t plan to enforce the fines, why put them in place?” he asked.
The proposed fines are too onerous, Middleton Coun. Roger Geysens said.
Blue box scavengers are the poorest people, he said, adding “I don’t think people of means scavenge blue boxes.”
Mayor Dennis Travale suggested council look at wording to avoid acting on frivolous or vexatious complaints from neighbours.
Simcoe Coun. Peter Black suggested an appeal process for fines.
Delhi Coun. Mike Columbus suggested a warning process.
He said some people probably couldn’t afford to pay fines.
Some of the fines proposed under Norfolk’s new garbage bylaw:
$200 Setting out non-collectable waste like tree trunks, concrete or tires
$500 Setting out hazardous or pathological waste
$300 Animal not tied up or not secured, posing risk to driver.
$200 Obstructing road or sidewalk
$200 Setting out garbage at premises not your own (for example, putting bags of your garbage at a neighbour’s)
$200 Setting out garbage earlier than 7 p.m. on the day before collection
$200 Failing to remove receptacle after collection, posing safety hazard
$200 Unacceptable receptacle.
$200 Failure to ensure garbage is contained in receptacle
$200 Scavenging collectable waste or recyclable material —