The Central Okanagan’s fleet of garbage, recycling and yard waste trucks has been purchased by local governments for $1.8 million.
All of the trucks will be sold when a new contractor rolls out its own trucks in October.
Despite the cost to taxpayers in Kelowna, Lake Country, West Kelowna and Peachland involved in buying the soon-to-be-sold trucks, city officials say the new service still represents a good deal for the public.
“Even with this additional cost, regional cost saving will be achieved over the seven-year contract,” city finance director Genelle Davidson wrote in an email.
Meanwhile, most of the approximately 30 drivers previously employed by Kelowna-based OK Environmental Waste Systems have accepted jobs with the new curbside pickup provider, Toronto-based Environmental 360 Solutions.
However, they’ve been asked to take a significant pay cut, said one driver.
“I was making $28 an hour, but they’ve offered $23.50,” said the driver, who wanted to remain anonymous.
“It’s a bit of a slap in the face, and for me it works out to about $9,000 less a year,” the driver said.
Local governments in the Central Okanagan signed the seven-year, $36-million contract with Environmental 360 late last year. It was one of five companies that bid on the job, and its tender was the lowest received.
The company was keen to win the Central Okanagan recycling, garbage and yard waste collection and bid aggressively, city purchasing manager Darren Tompkins said last week, because it’s eager to expand into B.C.
E360’s contract with local governments, to run the curbside program for more than 60,000 homes in the Central Okanagan, starts on June 1, regional district spokeswoman Jodie Foster says.
However, E360’s environmentally friendly fleet of propane-powered trucks won’t be ready for service in Kelowna until October.
If local governments had not bought the aging fleet of about 25 pickup trucks from OK Environmental Waste Systems, the continuity of the curbside pickup service might have been jeopardized, Davidson said.