As Saanich continues to play catch up with its leaf collection schedule, residents can place smaller piles into their green organics carts. District of Saanich.

As Saanich continues to play catch up with its leaf collection schedule, residents can place smaller piles into their green organics carts. District of Saanich.

Climate change possibly behind delays in Saanich’s leaf collection

Saanich hopes to have collected all leaves by mid-January 2019

Climate change might be one of the reasons why Saanich’s leaf collection program is running behind schedule.

Steven Wiebe, Saanich’s manager of fleet and solid waste services, said leaves stayed on local trees one to three weeks longer than in years past, depending on the tree species and area.

This delayed the start of leaf collection for two weeks, according to Wiebe. The number of available trucks and other challenges then caused additional delays, he added.

While the reasons the leaves remained on trees longer is unknown, Wiebe said climate change could be a factor.

Saanich crews have now been working hard since early December to get back on schedule, said Wiebe, who expects collection to wrap up by mid-to-late January.

Residents whose leaves remain uncollected by Jan. 18 should contact Saanich by phone or email, he said.

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If they remain concerned about piling up leaves, residents can place smaller piles in their green organics cart for regular pickup. Residents who have large piles awaiting pickup, can protect them by placing tarps over them. They can also drop them off free at Saanich’s public works yard on McKenzie Avenue.

Saanich dedicates four re-furbished garbage trucks to collect leaves from residences in the urban containment boundary. Based on the last decade, crews pick up an average of 350 truck loads — an estimated 2,500 tons — from about 29,000 residential households each year.

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com