By Matthew Liebenberg
SaskAbilities will continue to operate the recycle depot and yard waste collection site in Swift Current as a result of a new agreement with the City.
Council members approved the new five-year contract agreement during a regular City council meeting, Dec. 11.
“SaskAbilities is a positive force in our community for making sure that Swift-Current is an inclusive community and it’s great to see our working relationship with them continue,” Councillor Ryan Switzer said.
Councillor Ryan Plewis noted that there has been a longstanding partnership between the City and SaskAbilities with positive benefits.
“They’ve been a very good partner for the City of Swift Current, providing services in lots of ways that make sense for us, but also help to fulfill their vision and mission in the community, which is to help people experience meaningful employment,” he said. “So I will certainly be in support of this. I think the last two years have gone well and it’s a well-used facility that warrants our continued support and investment.”
City Manager of Environmental Services Keegan Story mentioned that SaskAbilities has been providing contracted operational services for the City’s residential recycle depot since 2008. The City’s yard waste collection site was incorporated with the recycle depot operation in 2021 on a two-year trial period.
The current contract is valid until the end of 2023 and SaskAbilities indicated that it would like to continue to provide these services as part of its mission to support people experiencing disability with programs and services to enhance their lives.
“With five permanent staff positions, casual positions and over 40 per cent of the employees experiencing disability, the City of Swift Current’s recycle depot plays an important role in the mission of SaskAbilities,” he said.
The new agreement will be for a period of five years, which is a longer term than the previous recycle depot contract.
“We have various lengths of agreements throughout the City, but this has been our longest agreement for the operation of the recycle depot,” he said. “Previous to that, our longest one was a three-year. So we’re very happy to see that we were able to reach an agreement extending five years.”
It signifies the positive relationship that exists between the City and SaskAbilities, which will continue as a result of the new contract.
“Our long working relationship with SaskAbilities has been fantastic, both for the City and for SaskAbilities, and we’re happy to be able to continue that partnership,” he said. “It offers stability to the employees of the depot as well and through the programs that SaskAbilities offers.”
The contract fee for 2024 will increase with three per cent over 2023 and there will be an annual increase of two per cent for the remainder of the agreement. The 2024 contract fee will be $225,233.12 and at the end of the five-year period the annual fee will be $243,799.57 in 2028.
The yard waste collection site was used 11,700 times in 2023. It operated from April to November with two separate bays, one for tree branches and the other for grass and leafy waste.
City residents can drop off yard waste year-round at the landfill, but the yard waste collection site offers a convenient location at the recycle depot. Story said the outcome of the two-year trial period for the site was very positive.
“We’ve seen increased resident usage of the site and through it we’ve been able to offer greater hours of service as well,” he mentioned. “So it’s kind of a win-win for our residents.”
The multi-material recycle depot accepts paper, box board, cardboard, tin cans and plastics. It receives an average of 2,000 visitors per month and diverted 326 tonnes of recyclable materials from the City landfill in 2022.
“With the implementation of the yard waste site in conjunction with recycle depot, we did see a slight increase on our recycle depot numbers,” he said. “Year over year our yard waste numbers did increase this year again over last years. Previous to that, we did see a decrease in recycling numbers just throughout COVID and actually pre-COVID, when some of the bans on different recyclable products hit. We haven’t seen a return to those previous numbers by any means, but we’ve been fairly level with that slight increase on recycle and then a slight increase on the yard waste.”