Cameron MacLean· CBC News· Posted: Jan 09, 2023 5:00 AM CST | Last Updated: January 9
Resident says city told her that her Maryland Street condo building has shifted to private garbage collection
Winnipegger Pauline Dussault can't help but laugh when she looks at the pile of garbage she and other tenants have left beside their Maryland Street condo building.
Dussault, who has rented a unit in the building for two years, said some time last summer, she saw workers from the City of Winnipeg come and take the rolling garbage bins from behind the building.
The building hasn't had garbage bins since, she said.
"I'm surviving with a sense of humour," said Dussault.
When CBC News visited last week, there were numerous bags of garbage left along the north side of the building. Several had been ripped open, their contents spilling across the ground.
Behind the building were several blue recycling bins — some filled with trash — but no garbage bins.
Despite repeated complaints to the company that manages her unit, and calls to the City of Winnipeg, Dussault said it has been months since she and the other residents in the building have had a place to put their garbage.
When she called 311, she said she was told the building at 722 Maryland St. — just south of Notre Dame Avenue, in the Daniel McIntyre area — had switched to private garbage collection.
"I don't want to litter, but I don't have an option right now," Dussault said. "It kills me to do that. Like, I'm not a litterbug and I don't want to but … what more am I supposed to do?"
Building self-managed, board says
An email from the property manager of the unit Dussault rents, dated Jan. 4, 2023, says the company has emailed the condo board "several times regarding the missing garbage bins."
CBC News contacted two members of the condominium board responsible for the building, but both declined requests for a recorded interview.
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In an emailed statement, a representative of the board said the building is self-managed by volunteers.
The condo corporation "has an independent service provider" responsible for external cleanup, picking up bulky waste and garbage removal "on an as needed basis," the email said.
However, "weekly garbage removal is not included in this 'upon request' service agreement," the representative said.
According to the email, the corporation had not received any requests for this service since last spring.
The email did not respond to CBC's questions about why the bins were removed, or what kind of weekly garbage pickup plan is in place for the building.
A spokesperson for the City of Winnipeg wouldn't comment on whether the building has service from the city or a private company, whether the city had removed the bins from the property, or if bylaw officers had responded to any complaints about the building.
Generally speaking, "if a property owner decides to hire private garbage collection services, then the City of Winnipeg will collect the carts/front-load bins that were provided if the city had previously provided service," city spokesperson Kalen Qually said in an emailed statement.
Lack of city policy 'shocking': councillor
In her quest to get the building's garbage issue addressed, Dussault reached out to Daniel McIntyre Coun. Cindy Gilroy, who has brought forward a motion at city council she hopes will prevent similar issues in the future.
If passed by council, the motion would require multi-family residences to have an adequate number of garbage bins, "regardless of whether garbage collection is provided by the city or a private contractor."
Gilroy said she has seen similar issues at other buildings, particularly in the inner city, and was surprised to learn that the City of Winnipeg has no policy explicitly requiring multi-family buildings to have garbage bins.
"It was shocking," she said in an interview. "We have to figure out a plan in order to manage that, especially if it's a private contractor."
Gilroy wants the city to develop a process that would require private contractors to notify the city if they remove bins from a property, and would impose fines on building owners and condo boards if they don't have adequate garbage bins.
After CBC News reached out to the condo board, Dussault said someone came and cleaned up the garbage beside her building, but no new bins have arrived.
"I feel like I'm in the 1800s," she said. "I guess all I do is open my window [and] throw the garbage out."