An organization that feeds the hungry and cares for the poor believes city hall is dumping on it. The Salvation Army could see costs rise after it removed dumpsters from outside of its 29th Avenue thrift store to conform with a new bylaw that eliminates containers from the public portion of alleys. “We’re doing our best to make it work but I’m not sure if it’s do-able,” said David MacBain, community ministries director. Instead of placing garbage into a dumpster in the alley, a driver and assistant will now pick up the waste twice a day and transport it to the 32nd Avenue food bank where there’s a dumpster on private land. “There will be wages and gas. This is on top of regular business and that will be several thousands of dollars annually,” said MacBain. The Salvation Army has a limited budget and additional expenses take away from funding available to provide programs for the less fortunate.The thrift shop has one dumpster of cardboard a week and one-and-a-half to two containers full of waste daily. The store relies on donations to re-sell but not everything is in good condition. “We don’t produce the waste. It’s given to us and it’s waste,” said MacBain. The Salvation Army has asked the city to exempt the thrift shop from the bylaw.
Mayor Wayne Lippert isn’t sure what the city will do with the Salvation Army’s request. “We’re always willing to listen to any business,” he said. “But the program was advertised and a survey of merchants was done and I wish they would have given us some input earlier instead of later.” No immediate enforcement of the bylaw is occurring. “We will give everyone a couple of weeks grace,” said Shirley Koenig, operation services manager. Once the phase-in period is over, anyone who hasn’t removed their dumpster will receive a warning letter and if it continues, a fine of up to $100 per day. “We are seeking co-operation. We don’t want to go down the line of enforcement,” said Koenig, who defends the decision to remove dumpsters.“It’s for a better downtown and it’s to everyone’s benefit. It’s about safety and cleanliness.”