People stroll past leaning buildings in Dawson City on March 16, 2024. (Dana Hatherly/Yukon News)Dana Hatherly/Yukon News

A number of Dawson City residents asked city staff and council to scrap the current draft waste management plan and communicate better with citizens about citizens’ waste management needs. 

After 40 minutes of delegates presenting slideshows and concerns, councillors asking questions of delegates, and at least one call to order when the trash talk got heated, council passed a resolution to direct city staff to facilitate a town hall to inform the draft implementation plan within two weeks from the date of the March 19 meeting. 

The meeting’s feedback came a few weeks after a Feb. 20 council meeting where the draft plan was outlined, along with a 70-plus-page solid waste management program design assessment done by Morrison Hershfeld. 

In that report, four recommendations were made that “the City of Dawson discontinue solid waste collection services for Commercial, Institutional, and Multi-Residential properties and discontinue associated non-residential waste charges on a pro rated basis; that upon cessation of commercial solid waste pickup services by the City, the City extend residential waste collection services to municipal residential neighbourhoods where practicable with the elimination of neighbourhood bin rentals in neighbourhoods affected; that upon cessation of commercial services by the City, the City transition residential waste pickup services to a biweekly schedule with residential solid waste pickup on week one and residential recycling collection on week two; and that upon full implementation of tipping fees at the Dawson Landfill site the City of Dawson adopt a waste limit of 1 or 2 Bag(s) per household per week, with the option to purchase additional bag tags” 

That’s what Cud Eastbound was asking council to reconsider when he began his delegation March 19. 

“It’s clear that neither we, nor you, are prepared for its implementation,” said Eastbound, who presented a series of slides outlining cost discrepancies in different reports on the draft plan, concerns about commercial businesses having additional expenses placed on them, and the possibility that the introduction of tipping fees could result in increased illegal dumping. 

“I’d like to highlight our common goal which is to extend the life of the landfill, divert refundable, recyclable and compostables to attain possible waste management results at an affordable cost, guide and encourage positive behavioural change towards how we manage our waste,” he said. 

Coun. Julia Spriggs thanked Eastbound for the presentation and said she agreed communication has been lacking. 

“I understand that in our budget for 2024, which we’ll talk about later this evening, there is an increased budget to do communication directly related to waste management, but what I’m hearing from this is […] when we talk about when that expenditure will happen might need to be sooner than later because I think a lot of the frustrations I have heard in my communication with constituents, it usually boils down to either miscommunication or lack thereof,” she said. 

“And I have been on both sides of this and I feel it, I feel it with you guys. And I really hope that we’re able to allocate some resources to communication because communication, to me, is paramount in any relationship. And that’s what this is. This is a relationship between council and our community.” 

Justine Hobbs followed Eastbound. 

Hobbs said she was speaking on behalf of 70 community members, including 55 business owners. 

“I sat down with these people. I sat down and had this conversation. I did the consultation that you guys did not do. I heard stories about their struggles with staffing and capacity. I heard about stories that they were trying to navigate rising taxes and inflation and they’re trying to keep our price points very low for their consumers because they’re our neighbours. They’re our friends. But it’s hard,” said Hobbs. 

She said the common sentiment was that the Dawson City business community needs more support, not additional challenges. They all know the city has a garbage problem, Hobbs said, but it’s a “we” problem. And she hopes better communication between the city and community will begin to address that problem. 

Contact Amy Kenny at

By Amy Kenny, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 20, 2024 at 15:09

This item reprinted with permission from   Yukon News   Whitehorse, Yukon
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