Since garbage and recycling collections have been interrupted on the Sunshine Coast for nearly a month, Waste Management is still recruiting new drivers and helpers.
As of Aug. 24, two new drivers had been hired and the company was currently training one of the new recruits, according to Gary Chittim of Waste Management.
“We expect interruptions to cease when we are at full staff and our new drivers are ready to begin service,” Chittim told Coast Reporter.
The company has also brought in a driver from Vancouver and some drivers from Salish Soils to assist with routes.
Six jobs were posted Aug. 24 on Waste Management’s career website seeking four drivers in Sechelt and two residential helpers. The starting wage is listed at $27 per hour for drivers and $15.75 for helpers. In the job listing for helpers, a strong desire to become a driver was listed as an asset, with “training and support” available for qualified candidates.
The offer of a $2,000 sign-on bonus was noted on all four driver job postings.
Curbside collection in the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) and Sechelt has been impacted since late July. In August, Sechelt collection was impacted on Aug. 6, 13, 16 and 17. For the SCRD, green bin service was missed for parts of the SCRD on Aug. 4 and 5, and garbage collection was missed for some areas on Aug. 3. Service was also interrupted in parts of Halfmoon Bay on Aug. 18 and parts of West Howe Sound on Aug. 24.
Waste Management sent out a press release on July 28, nearly a month ago, to address the “unprecedented” driver shortage.
At the end of July, a schedule change was announced for parts of the SCRD to come into effect in August as “part of WM’s operational strategy to improve efficiencies and ensure reliable service,” Chittim said.
Six rotating garbage collection zones serviced every other week were made in Halfmoon Bay, Roberts Creek, Elphinstone and West Howe Sound, with pickup in three of the zones during Week 1, and the other three receiving service in Week 2. Service will still be on the same day of the week those areas previously received.
A brochure with the schedule change was mailed to customers, and a full-page ad appeared in the newspaper, he added. It can also be found online at www.scrd.ca/curbside-schedule.
The SCRD said Waste Management also notified residents with stickers on their bins.
“We’ve been working with Waste Management because we were made aware that some residents were notified in error that their schedules were changing and others didn’t receive the notification from Waste Management,” SCRD communications manager Aidan Buckley said on Aug. 24.
SCRD staff continue to be in contact with the company on a daily basis, Buckley added.
Since July, residential dumpsters have been made available at 5920 Sechelt Inlet Rd. when there is an interruption to service.
“On those days, WM sees between 16 and 20 yards (average pickup truck loads) of garbage being dropped off daily,” Chittim said in an email.
Service alerts can be found at wmnorthwest.com/britishcolumbia as well as through the SCRD Collects and Sechelt Citizen apps and their social media pages.