The Saanich Parks and Public Works Yard has been closed to garden waste drop-offs since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic and some residents are frustrated about not having a place to dump their yard waste.
Effective March 19, the District of Saanich closed a number of municipal facilities. Public access to the Parks and Public Works Yard on McKenzie Avenue and Borden Street was reduced to appointment only and yard waste services were temporarily closed until further notice.
Our garden waste drop-off is closed due to the COVID-19 emergency, but other options are available.
— District of Saanich (@saanich) April 17, 2020
Anne Simmons, a Saanich resident of more than 45 years who’s using the extra time at home to tend her yard and garden, was among those upset to hear that yard waste drop-off had been shut down.
“You don’t go near anybody” when dumping yard waste, she said, emphasizing that she feels the public health officer’s safety orders could be followed while still permitting residents to use their “beloved” Parks and Public Works Yard.
Simmons added that dropping off yard waste while social distancing would be better than piling it up in her yard as she’s “terrified” of what the upcoming fire season will be like.
Mayor Fred Haynes explained that as a gardener himself, he understands the closure of the public works yard is inconvenient but emphasized that it’s a necessary part of protecting municipal staff and residents during the health crisis.
“It’s not business as usual,” he added, noting that it’s important for the District to manage resources and staff time carefully during these unprecedented times.
Haynes asks that residents be patient and either keep their yard waste at home until drop-off resumes or bring it to the Hartland Landfill Facility or call a private disposal company.
The Capital Regional District has also compiled a list of yard waste service providers in the region including 10 that remain open for drop-offs. Many of those that are still open have altered their hours of operation and payment options.
The CRD has a great list of yard and garden material services providers in the region and the current status of operations due to the COVID-19 emergency.
— District of Saanich (@saanich) April 11, 2020
Haynes also pointed out that composting is another option for dealing with yard waste and that curbside green bin pick up will continue in Saanich. Many yard trimmings can be put in with the organics recycling – residents can visit saanich.ca for more information about what’s permitted in the bin.