MUNICIPALITY OF PONTIAC – Complaints about erratic garbage collection was a hot topic during the municipality’s regular council meeting, May 14 (see page 15). Residents spoke of having to place their bins at the curbside, bring them in at night, and put them out again the next morning for days or even weeks on end before they were finally picked up; otherwise, they risked being destroyed by animals.
According to Mayor Joanne Labadie, problems with the current contractor, Tom Orr Cartage, had been ongoing “for a number of months” because of labour force and mechanical issues. “They haven’t been able to live up to their contract, so we both agreed to end it early,” said Labadie.
As a result, Location Martin Lalonde (LML) was subcontracted the week of May 6 to complete Tom Orr Cartage’s three-year contract, which finishes at the end of May. Afterwards, the municipality will issue LML an emergency short-term contract to continue for as long as needed. “This will buy us time to go to tender to find a
permanent contractor,” added the mayor, noting no additional costs will be incurred to complete the contract.
With the end of Tom Orr Cartage’s contract looming, the Municipality of Pontiac had considered extending it for another year, but recent events made the decision easy.
However, according to residents, the problem has persisted for more than half a decade and with more than one contractor.
“My garbage has been picked up days late, weeks late, or even not at all. It has been an ongoing concern, with issues in 2015, 2016, 2017, and now in 2019 … it hasn’t been one council, one garbage company, or one mayor,” said Brad Barnett, who lives in Luskville.
“I have lost total confidence in your ability to manage this service,” said Michel Labelle during the council meeting.
Since there have been problems with two consecutive contracts, Barnett is concerned about what the future holds. “Clearly the tender process used in the past must change. I won’t fault the current council for our last garbage contract, however, I will blame [them] if they simply tender out to the lowest bidder, shrug their shoulders, and maintain the status quo, because very clearly this does not work. We need a better tender process, one that protects us from borderline theft,” he concluded.
As of press time, Labadie did not respond to the Journal’s inquiries regarding the former garbage contract that ended in 2016.
It appears other municipalities in the MRC Pontiac
have also been experiencing difficulties with Tom Orr Cartage, with mayors
complaining about non-collected bins and avoided calls during a special meeting on May 9.