The message during Bob Masse's election campaign was loud and clear: many Ridge residents want municipal garbage pickup.
Maple Ridge council decided last week to hire a consultant to look at all aspects of garbage collection, especially in light of a Metro Vancouver ban on organics that will be in effect in 2015.
Masse has said that during the election the desire for municipal garbage pickup was one of the biggest concerns he heard.
Garbage pickup is a "very broad issue" that affects a lot of people, and therefore "we need to have a full consultation process with the community," Masse said.
But, he added, when the information is gathered by the consultant, if municipal garbage pickup isn't cost effective, he doesn't want it implemented for its own sake.
Since Maple Ridge doesn't have municipal garbage pickup, residents have the choice of hauling their garbage to the Albion transfer station or contracting with a private company to pick up their garbage.
This, according to the staff report, "encourages individual responsibility and freedom of choice."
In 2010, 66 per cent of Maple Ridge households reported contracting out their garbage pickup.
The staff report notes that with four companies privately collecting garbage throughout Maple Ridge, there are often many trucks going through, and "a District-wide single contract, a reduction in the overall number of truck trips could be anticipated."
The staff report also noted that if the District decides to start a garbage pickup program, it will be hard to go back.
Organics make up 36 per cent of Maple Ridge residents' solid waste. When the ban is put in place, if organics are found in garbage, it will result in "significant fines," according to a District staff report to council.
The tipping fees for organics is $56 per ton, whereas for regular garbage it is $101 per ton, providing a monetary incentive to collect and dispose of organics separately.
The recycling society operates a weekly curbside pickup service for recyclables, which costs taxpayers $68.16 annually.
The recycling society is not looking at changing any services until the consultant's report, expected in the fall, is completed.
"We're looking for direction from the District before we do anything," said Kim Day, executive director for the Ridge Meadows Recycling Society.