This letter is in reply to Merritt News editor John O'Connor's editorial March 22 about the new trash system in Merritt. He lists a number of reasons he believes the new garbage system was poorly thought out. I agree. The bins easily tip over in the wind, and their lids aren't very easy to secure. The bins are smaller than what residents are used to. The city probably bought too many of the wrong type of bin. The city went back on its promise to roll out the bins at the same time as the recycling program. The city is charging $120 for larger bins.
John missed some other very important points. The bins are terribly expensive, and any damage or vandalism can be charged to the home owner. Plastic gets brittle over time and in winter, and Merritt streets are full of drunken hoodlums with too much time and alcohol on their hands. Plus these bins sit on the street. Unless people wait for the garbage truck to come by and grab their bins immediately, the wind will inadvertently carry empty bins into the street where they will all be smashed to pieces en masse by passing cars and trucks. How soon before taxpayers find out how much this program really costs?
Most importantly, by delivering bins on a per-house basis instead of per capita, the city is discriminating against large families, especially lower income large families. Generally speaking, larger families live in larger homes, and larger homes are more expensive, and since property tax is based on home value, larger families pay more taxes. So why charge extra for larger bins when larger families are already paying more? Especially when a single resident in a small home gets one bin all to themselves. It's not fair. This kind of anti-family policy is simply inexcusable.
There are other ways that I've noticed that Merritt isn't a very family-friendly place to live. The library doesn't have adequate washrooms; fathers with kids must sneak into the women's washroom to change diapers. Most cities with a nice swimming pool have a program to allow low-income families and individuals to swim for free, but in Merritt, it seems only the rich can afford the nice amenities that this town has to offer. Most towns with a bad problem with drunks wandering downtown have anti-loitering laws to good effect, but in Merritt, good families going to get groceries or to the bank get accosted regularly. Merritt has a wonderful bylaw officer, but considering the size and scope of the dog and cat problems in this town, the office isn't funded nearly well enough to keep dangerous animals off the street for our children. Even my girlfriend has been attacked by a dog while pushing her stroller downtown. How soon before Merritt makes the news for something bad again?
Hey, at least Merritt is the Country Music Capital of Canada!