The municipality is considering moving the garbage compactor at the Nesters site back to its original position.
“Clearly there is a pinch point between the new building and the garbage compactor so we will probably move it back to where it was located in the back corner,” said Brian Barnett, the Resort Municipality of Whistler’s general manager of engineering and public works.
“It is a pretty simple thing to do.”
Locals and visitors alike have watched with fascination as a mammoth “lean-to” has been constructed at the Nesters garbage and recycling site over the last several months. But while the structure may look over-engineered and costly it’s not, said Barnett.
“It does look like it was an expensive undertaking, and it was $258,000, but it is well built, well designed and it will serve Whistler well for many years,” he said.
The design stems from the use of hemlock wood for the construction. While this may not have been the first choice for the “lean-to” it worked for this project because it was available to the municipality for a great price.
The wood, explained Barnett, was over-supplied to the Whistler library project and rather than ship it elsewhere the supplier offered it to the municipality at a very attractive price.
(The municipality has just sold the last of the wood, making money in the process, to the company doing the upgrade on the wastewater treatment plant.)
“It was actually a cost saving opportunity,” said Barnett.
“It was actually cheaper than if it was done on a traditional approach.”
The municipality had wanted to upgrade the recycling area for some time because, said Barnett: “The experience at the compactor and recycling sites is quite sub-standard for the Whistler experience we are trying to maintain here.
“There is usually a pile of snow that turns into ice because people walk in there and it is slippery and dark, or rainy. So it is just a pretty unpleasant experience.
“The intent was to build basically a lean-to shelter over the containers so people would have a dry, safe lit area to do their recycling… it was really just a simple amenity to improve the quality of the recycling experience in an effort to increase recycling rates in Whistler.”
The project was put out to tender but local bids came in at $30,000 more than Coquitlam based Acculine Construction, which was awarded the job.
CWA Engineering designed it.
The garbage compactor had to be moved to the centre of the area to facilitate the building of the lean-to over the recycling bins.
Barnett, who does his own garbage drop off and recycling there, agrees that the new design is a bit of a problem.
“The layout was a municipal staff decision and in hindsight probably not the best decision, but it wasn’t an expensive undertaking to re-locate it and it did have to get re-located to build the lean-to,” he said.
“We had to move it off to the area it is now for the construction, so to put it back to where it was is certainly no problem.”
In-house municipal crews did most of that work.
The concrete pad was laid to protect the asphalt during the delivery and removal of the garbage compactor. It can be removed.
It may be, said Barnett, that in the future the smaller mixed paper compactor or another unit will be placed in that vicinity.
Asked if he thought it was a good use of public money Barnett replied: “I think it is a cost effective project and it is intended to support our sustainability initiative by making the recycling rates better.”