Ask the Ambassadors About Waste and Bears
Have questions about sorting waste or keeping bears away? If you’re a Port Coquitlam resident, you can now get answers from the city’s two new Ambassadors.
The City of Port Coquitlam has hired two Ambassadors until the end of 2018 to work with the community to improve compliance with the Solid Waste Bylaw – in particular, sorting waste properly and securing bear attractants. Next spring, the program scope will expand to include Metro Vancouver’s water-use restrictions.
The Ambassadors will engage with residents in a variety of ways, including community events (such as at the Port Coquitlam Farmers Market on Sept. 21 and 28), pop-up displays around the city, neighbourhood door-knocking, block parties and presentations. At www.portcoquitlam.ca/ambassadors, residents can ask a question, request resources or a presentation for a group or school, or follow the Ambassadors on the City’s social media channels.
“We’ve had a lot of success in the past using ambassadors to get the community on board with some of our important initiatives,” Mayor Greg Moore said. “When possible, we prefer to create buy-in by using education to show our citizens why the rules are in place.”
For now, the focus of the Ambassadors will be on:
- Sorting waste property – including raising awareness of Sort it Right! resources such as the online waste-sorting tool at portcoquitlam.ca/sortitright and in the free PoCo Waste-Line app. Port Coquitlam residents currently divert 67 per cent of their household waste from the landfill, but many are still putting recyclables and compostables such as food waste into the garbage (based on audits, 39 per cent of garbage is recyclable, and 30 per cent is compostable). The city is working towards 80 per cent diversion by 2020, in line with the regional target.
- Keeping bears away – including securing bear attractants, proper use of waste-cart locks and other resources at portcoquitlam.ca/bears. Bear sightings have been at a record high this year because some people are not securing attractants such as food waste, pet food and fallen fruit, as required by the Solid Waste Bylaw.
Starting in the spring, the program will also educate the community about being water wise, including following the regional water-use restrictions from May 15 to Oct. 15 and other information at www.portcoquitlam.ca/waterwise.
“These programs reduce costs to taxpayers and protect our safety and the environment, so it’s important that everyone does their part,” said Cllr. Darrell Penner, chair of the Transportation Solutions and Public Works Committee. “We’ve invested in our Ambassador Program again because education is our first choice when it comes to enforcing bylaws. But if necessary, fines are available as a last resort.”
Existing bylaws allow the city to issue fines to residents who don’t sort their waste properly (up to $300 per instance) and secure waste carts in bear-prone areas (up to $150 per instance). Tickets are issued by the City’s bylaw enforcement staff – not the Ambassadors – and all fines are discounted if paid within two weeks.
The two Ambassadors both have a passion for the environment and are keen to help Port Coquitlam become more green and safe.
Mahdis Irandoost has a background in customer relations and marketing, and is a seasoned recycler and green waste composter. “I’m very excited to be in a position where I can help shape people’s outlooks and behaviours, educate our future generations and contribute to global conservation efforts,” Irandoost said.
Justin Spicer has a background in communication design and has worked in the waste solutions industry. “I want to get more people excited about doing their part because we can only achieve this goal if we work together as a community,” Spicer said.
The Ambassadors’ outreach efforts will include activating volunteer ambassadors who can help educate their neighbourhood, school or group on one or all of the three initiatives.
For more information, to ask the Ambassadors a question, or to request a presentation or resources, visit www.portcoquitlam.ca/ambassadors. Residents can also email the Ambassadors directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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An information session on Jan. 18 will help Port Coquitlam businesses gear up for year two of the PoCo Grand Prix presented by Dominion Lending Centres.
All Port Coquitlam businesses are invited to attend the session, to be held from 6:30-8 pm at the Gathering Place (#200-2253 Leigh Sq.) by the City of Port Coquitlam in conjunction with the Port Coquitlam Business Improvement Association.
The evening will include presentations, group discussion and refreshments, and will give participants ideas of how they can take advantage of the world-class event that will bring thousands to downtown Port Coquitlam on July 14 for a day of professional cycling, entertainment and family activities. More than 5,000 spectators attended the inaugural event in 2016.
The info session will give businesses the opportunity to:
- Hear about the results of the 2016 post-event business survey, and discuss any concerns.
- Help the City understand how it can better support businesses for the 2017 event.
- Get ideas on how they can benefit and get more involved in 2017.
- Hear from Caps Westwood Cycle and Samz Pub about their 2016 experiences, as well as from Race Director Mark Ernsting.
For information about the information session or opportunities for businesses, contact 604.927.5218 or email@example.com. Information on the event can be found at www.pocograndprix.ca.
Tom Madigan, Manager of Solid Waste and Fleet
Engineering & Public Works Department
City of Port Coquitlam