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What’s wrong with Halifax?

Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), sounds like a responsible environmental community (on paper): Plastics recycled; ODS (Ozone Depleting Substances) removed free from worn-out refrigeration appliances; environmental handling of electronics, like Televisions, computers. This sounds like a great model for other cities, municipalities, and regions to adopt, but it is seriously flawed.

ODS is the stuff that destroys the ozone layer. So, one simple phone call (902-490-4000) will initiate a contract removal of the Freon from common household fridges, freezers and air conditioners. Sounds simple, but it is simply flawed.

As soon as that phone call is made, a private contractor is paid on your behalf, by the municipality, to remove the ODS before the waste management team will pickup your appliance at the curbside. And every time (at least three in a row for me) the appliance will be gone when the company hired to remove the ODS comes a-callin’.

The price of metals, from copper wire, to steel appliances, is the reason half-ton trucks scale the curb sides daily in metro and outlying regions, to collect these appliances. But they don’t safely remove the Freon or other ODS, they simply break the line, and let it all out, to our atmosphere (just like developing regions around the world that share our ozone layer). So, that means we are still contributing to the destruction of the Ozone Layer while hiding under the guise of Environmental Stewardship.

Mayor Peter Kelly has been informed of this problem before, and a possible solution, but nothing appears to have changed. Here was one proposal: Watch the metal salvage yards. If caught accepting a fridge without a green sticker (indicating the appliance was evacuated of its ODS), they should be heavily fined. This would cause refusal of the items in question, resulting in metal collectors being unable to *pawn off* their accumulated overnight wealth. Until this happens, we are paying the company that collects the Freon for nothing. The end result is the same as before, except we paid for that service that we don’t get.

And let me rant for a second on Enviro Depots: We recycle those dangerous heavy metals and parts from computers, televisions, and other electronics. You simply drop off the computer or TV at any environmental recycling depot in town.. I mean, CITY! The lack of privately owned Enviro Depots in parts of HRM is appalling! No one will drive 60 kilometers to drop off their 36 inch television at any *depot*. If they can wrestle it into their Lada hatchback, they simply toss them to the ditch on wooded side roads, which now are as common as mile markers in some places. Again, Mayor Kelly has been made aware of the problem, and since the Enviro Depots are not owned by the municipality, it is unlikely they will setup a location in every town that has a huge expensive “Halifax Regional Municipality” “Welcome to Quoddy” sign. Another solution was proposed: If waste management in these areas picked up our televisions and devices for the last 30 years as part of their job, why not pick one day a month, and waste management collect on that day the items that need to go to the Enviro Depot and transport them for the communities outside the City, where there is no recycling location? They were paid well to pickup computers and televisions before we started using a Depot location, that task is now the owners’ responsibility. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

So, while the city debates Stadiums, Convention Centers, Skating Ovals, and a multi-billion dollar widening of Bayers Road, who is paying for all these *mistakes*? Well, you are, with your health, your tax dollars, and your sanity. In a time when reducing traffic should be the ultimate goal, no matter what, into the city of Halifax, we want to spend money to widen roads. (RELATED: Don’t Widen Bayers Road )

I tried Metro Transit buses in Halifax area. They were so out-of-date with their routes, and frequency, that I preferred to drive my own vehicle to work every day. I tried bicycling, which I loved, but the promised Bedford Highway widening which would include a bike lane seemed like a bad dream. This is the only route for bikes into the city, from Bedford-Sackville, only slightly less dangerous than biking highway 102. I was astonished, that given the size of the military and civilian support in the Halifax area, why didn’t Metro Transit drive a bus right into the dockyard? I sampled OcTranspo in Ottawa. WOW! And to think people still complain about bus efficiency there? I left the Byward Market downtown for the East end near Vanier, two (sometimes three) buses in 15 minutes to work! Beat that Metro Transit! You have so far to go.

So, just cut your own Freon lines of  your fridge, and drop it off at the salvage yard. Toss that TV in the ditch (it will break down in about 1000 years after poisoning the environment), and circle the parking meters with your gas-guzzling SUVs, we are hell-bent on getting more vehicles into our *green* city

Turns out, maybe we aren’t a model community leading the way with our environmental stewardship. We are just paper warriors in the red-tape game.

If any of this makes sense to you, speak up. Do you use twitter? Mayor Peter Kelly does.. justsayin’

(Source: WrongWithHalifax)

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