North Cowichan council has authorized the purchase of three new automated garbage trucks and an electric garbage truck for more than $2.6 million.
The trucks will replace the municipality’s four aging manual garbage trucks that are currently being used for the curbside collection of residential garbage and organics in North Cowichan.
Council gave staff the green light to buy the vehicles at its meeting on May 3.
The three Freightliner diesel trucks will cost a total of $1,577, 204, and the Mack LR Electric truck will cost $1,043,731.
The trucks are being purchased from Rollins Manufacturing Ltd., which has offices in Chemainus.
Coun. Chris Istace said he’s pleased that a local company won the contract to supply the trucks.
“Rollins has opened up its large facility in Smiley Road in Chemainus in the industrial area,” he said.
“It’s good to have a local company that can support these units.”
But Coun. Bruce Findlay, who has expressed reservations about buying an electric garbage truck, said he won’t support the purchase.
“Another reason that I’m against this is that I’ve just learned that we’re going to be first municipality, I believe, to own its own electric garbage truck, so now we’re on the leading edge with this and I’m not sure that I’m comfortable with that,” Findlay said.
Istace said he recently toured the rink at the Cowichan Community Centre and saw its new electric ice surfacer in action.
“Staff are constantly raving about it and the efficiencies in their operations because of it,” he said.
Council decided to purchase the new trucks, with Findlay and Coun. Tek Manhas opposed.
The previous council decided to begin moving forward with the transition to automated garbage collection by 2025 after a survey was completed by more than 2,300 residents, with 66 per cent indicating they are in favour of an automated garbage pick-up system.
The new system will allow the truck drivers to collect the garbage bins from inside the cab using a fully automated arm that tips into the truck hopper.
The automated system is expected to be more efficient and cause less injuries to workers.
Phase two of the project to transition to the new service would be the automated collection of recycling material, which is expected to begin in 2026.