$1M electric garbage truck coming to Burnaby

Plus: Burnaby tries to recover cost of emergency response to Parkland Refinery incident, Sheraton YVR workers request Burnaby’s support and a new water metering strategy in the works

A delegation representing the unionized, striking workers of the Sheraton YVR hotel came to Burnaby City Council’s meeting on Monday, Feb. 12, seeking support from the city. The delegation included Sharan Pawa, a communications specialist with Unite Here Local 40 union, and Shaelyn Arnold, one of the hotel’s employees and a labour organizer.

The two delegates described the labour dispute to council and requested that council boycott the hotel and write a letter to Larco Investments, the company that owns the Sheraton, Hilton and Marriott Vancouver Airport hotels as well as Bridge Studios in Burnaby. Sheraton YVR workers have been on strike since June 2023. 

Picketing Sheraton YVR workers. Photo: Sharan Pawa

Last month, the Beacon spoke with Pawa about the strike and the workers’ demands. 

“We’ve seen at our union that when we have the support of politicians, city councils, and other labour allies, it really helps the employer take our fight seriously, and address this labour dispute,” she said. During the presentation on Feb. 12, the two delegates said Sheraton YVR workers continue to struggle to make ends meet and need a living wage. According to the Living Wage for Families campaign, the 2023 living wage in the Metro Vancouver area is $25.68, almost $9 higher than the minimum wage of $16.75. 

“I’ve seen people sell their cars and start taking bikes to work, I’ve seen people having to move and their rents just doubled, people with kids can’t even afford enough groceries to send them to school with lunch,” Arnold said during the council meeting, “When I started at my job in 2018, I was six or seven dollars above minimum wage. Now I’m two dollars above minimum wage.” 

While they did not give exact numbers, the delegates mentioned that “dozens” of the hotel’s striking workers are Burnaby residents. Burnaby council voted unanimously to support the workers and boycott the Sheraton YVR. 

Water meters may be coming soon to Burnaby homes 

According to a report submitted to council, the new provincial zoning regulations will have an unprecedented effect on water usage in Burnaby. The city’s engineering department is working on a new water metering strategy to keep up with the zoning requirements and the new infrastructure the city expects to build to meet those requirements. 

The new strategy will require all new housing developments to have water meters to keep track of usage and leaks and ensure a fair and equitable system for charging households for their usage. By fall 2024, the city’s engineering department plans to present a comprehensive water metering strategy to council for consideration. 

Coun. Sav Dhaliwal expressed concerns about the equity of a metering system and its application to Burnaby households. Other city councillors expressed similar concerns regarding the application of the metering system. 

In response to the councillors’ concerns, Forrest Smith, deputy general manager for engineering with the city, said the engineering department will consider all the best practices related to water metering. 

A $1M garbage truck and recovering the cost of the Parkland Burnaby Refinery incident

Recycling bin in Burnaby. Photo: City of Burnaby

Burnaby City Council approved a new contract for an electric side-load refuse truck. The contract will be awarded to Rollins Machinery Limited for an estimated total cost of $1,057,773, including $113,333 in GST and PST. According to Bob Klimek, deputy general manager, finance, the new truck would cost 60% more than a diesel equivalent. 

Klimek added the city can look forward to cost recovery between years five and seven, as well as other savings including savings on 20,000 tons of diesel fuel and the cost of greenhouse gas offset credits. 

During the meeting, council also approved a motion to allow the city to recover the cost of the RCMP and fire department response to the incident at Parkland Burnaby Refinery, which was $28,963.54. The incident, which occurred on Jan. 21, caused a fire that needed immediate emergency response on the part of the city and resulted in emissions that affected Burnaby’s air quality, prompting Metro Vancouver to release an air quality statement urging Burnaby residents to remain indoors. 

During the meeting, Mayor Mike Hurley expressed concerns that Parkland Burnaby Refinery is not regulated by the BC energy regulator. 

“I’m not really comfortable with what I’m hearing. It gives me great concern,” Hurley said, adding, “It’s very concerning that they don’t fall under the regulator that they should.” 

The refinery is holding a community information session at Executive Suites Hotel and Conference Centre, located at 4201 Lougheed Hwy, Burnaby on Feb. 20. 

This piece was made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.

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