Column: Garbage Collection & Twitter

Since taking office in December, I have become known for two things:  garbage collection and Twitter.  They have seemingly defined my first few months and allow me to use this opportunity to elaborate on why that is.

Ottawa Green Bin ProgramIn January, the City developed its Service Level Waste Review for garbage collection.  Many different options were discussed and a questionnaire was made available to the residents of Ottawa for their feedback on how we proceed.  At that time, I received some encouragement for bi-weekly garbage pickup with weekly Green Bin pickup, and at the same time I received complaints about the perceived service reduction.  The Green Bin has been contentious since its introduction, some rural residents love it, some hate it, and some who don’t have it, want it.  At the same time, I mentioned that I would undergo a test run for bi-weekly pickup in my own household.  With the report scheduled to come to Environment Committee shortly with more public consultation to follow, I thought it would be a great time to report back with some findings from my family.

My household consists of myself, my wife, my two young children and a dog.  Since we received the Green Bin, I had been using it sparingly and still producing two full cans of garbage per week.  We decided to make a more concerted effort to use the Green Bin and black and blue boxes.  After nearly three months, the routine has become quite simple; Green Bin and blue box one week, garbage and black box the next.  Our bin fills up quite quickly, especially after we realized how much can go in it.  Virtually all bathroom waste goes in the Green Bin, as well as the vacuum bags and all food scraps.  Aside from the drink containers, we were able to put all fast food waste in it as well.  After the first month, I had reduced my residual garbage to one can every two weeks.  Therefore my contribution to the landfill went from four cans to one can every two weeks.  Subconsciously, I stopped buying products with poor plastic packaging, further reducing my waste.  The only thing continuously going into my garbage can are diapers and various types of plastic packaging.  I realize this example may not work for everyone and this was just my experience as a resident.  We’ll soon see the report and begin our discussions on how we proceed with waste collection in the City of Ottawa.

Another thing people have associated me with is Twitter.  I use Twitter sometimes five to six times a day, maybe more depending on what I am doing that day.  For those of you who are unaware as to what Twitter is, it is an online communication tool that allows you to send and receive 140-character messages, called Tweets.  I find it most beneficial as a way to get up-to-the-minute news updates on anything from traffic reports to sports updates to breaking news stories.  By following the Ottawa Citizen, CTV Ottawa, CBC News, CFRA, the Ottawa Sun, and a host of other media outlets, I can browse through instant news updates that include links to the full story.  I also follow my Council colleagues, many of whom just signed up in recent months.  The Prime Minister is on Twitter; the Governor General is as well.  Even Watson’s Mill and the Goulbourn Museum are on Twitter. It’s not just for the younger generation.

The reason why I find it such an important communication tool is that I have Twitter on my Blackberry.  I can sometimes respond faster on Twitter to residents than I can via email or by phone.  I’ve had multiple conversations with residents on Twitter and because it is all open, you can see the questions being asked and my responses as well.  I’ve been on Twitter since mid-2009 and I have noticed in recent months that many Rideau-Goulbourn residents have been signing up and following me.  I use it to try and keep people informed of what I’m doing, what’s going on in the community, and to promote our many great local events.  I feel it makes me a better Councillor and I’m happy to be known as one of the most active Councillors on Twitter.  Follow me @ScottMoffatt21 or follow my office @RideauGoulbourn.

2011 Canadian Seniors Curling Championships
The Senior Women’s National Curling Championships were held last week in Digby, Nova Scotia.  A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that two of our very own had won the Ontario Championships and were off to represent Ontario at the national championship.  It turns out they did us proud, finishing first overall after the round robin and earning a bye into the final.  They were tied atop the standing with New Brunswick, but clinched the top spot based on head-to-head results.  That same New Brunswick rink faced our Ontario team in the final and scored four in the eighth end that led to a 8-6 victory.  Our Ontario rink placed a very strong second in the Seniors Curling Championships and we should all be proud.  To Brenda Moffitt and Jennifer Langley, congratulations on all of your recent success!  If anyone happens to run into one of these wonderful ladies around Rideau-Goulbourn, be sure to congratulate them, it truly is a remarkable achievement.

OC Transpo – Rural Express 283
There has been a lot of talk lately about potential service changes for the Richmond/Munster rural express 283 bus route.  Last week, I met with OC Transpo and concluded that there would be no service reductions or alterations to the 283.  In fact, there will be some changes that will enhance the service and provide a faster route into the city.  Starting in April, once the bus hits the transitway it will make less pickups and those that wish to get on will have to pay the same fare as the rural residents.  These changes should reduce trips by 5-10 minutes.  Coming in September, OC Transpo will also start to provide a service that will pick up South Carleton students who have stayed late at school and will provide transportation to Stittsville.  There can always be changes to the route that could enhance the service.  Those changes will only occur through the work of our very dedicated local transit committee.  I’d like to thank them for their work and patience in recent months and look forward to working together in the future.

OVACC Fundraising Dinner
To mark the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, OVACC is hosting a spaghetti dinner that will take place at Pierce’s Corners Community Centre, 3048 Malakoff Road at Pierce Road on April 2, twenty-five days before the anniversary of the April 26, 1986 explosion. Tickets are $10 and all proceeds will go to the “25 for 25” project.

All media are invited at 4:00p.m. Speakers and volunteers will be available at that time to recall stories of the past 25 years with their Belarus children; there will be scrapbooks and reminiscences. Dinner starts at 5 p.m. for guests and media.

Ottawa Valley Aid for Chernobyl Children (O.V.A.C.C.) is a non-profit organization founded to provide humanitarian assistance to victims of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear explosion.

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If you have any questions on these or any other issues, please contact me at Scott.Moffatt@ottawa.ca or by phone at 613-580-2491.  Also, be sure to visit RideauGoulbourn.ca for up to date information on news and events in Rideau-Goulbourn.