HALIFAX, Feb. 25, 2014 /CNW/ - The Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) is urging the city of Halifax to drop a proposed 36% increase in garbage disposal fees that will unfairly slam businesses.
Small businesses in Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) are struggling with the current fees, which are already higher compared to other municipalities. A report by Stantec to Council last year found the cost of landfill disposal in HRM was up to three times more expensive than in similar-sized Canadian cities.
"Garbage removal is an essential part of any restaurant business and operators in HRM have done more than their fair share to reduce the amount of garbage going to landfill," says Luc Erjavec, Atlantic Canada Vice President for CRFA. "However, our landfill is not operating in an economically sound and efficient manner. It is clear from the Stantec report that our system needs change. Forcing restaurateurs and taxpayers to continue to pay these exorbitant costs is simply unfair."
"Restaurant operators are struggling in a tough economic environment and are faced with increasing costs for food, labour and energy," says Erjavec. "At a municipal level, operators have seen their tax and water bills soar and now have to pay a new fire inspection fee. On top of this, the proposed increase in garbage disposal fees could cost the average restaurant up to $4,000 more per year. Higher costs for essential services like waste removal will not help businesses grow. The only way to stimulate the economy, create jobs and make HRM a competitive place to do business is to reduce fees."
CRFA strongly supports the recommendation to allow waste from businesses to be disposed of outside of HRM. Neighbouring municipalities, which are also bound by strong Nova Scotia environmental legislation, have expressed interest in taking business waste from HRM at a rate significantly lower than the current rate of HRM. The benefits of amending this provision are two-fold: firstly, both small business operators and HRM would see a reduction in costs due to competition. Secondly, less waste within HRM would extend the life of the current landfill further reducing HRM costs.
As Nova Scotia's fourth-largest private-sector employer, the restaurant industry directly employs nearly 30,000 people at more than 1,900 establishments. Twenty-two per cent of Canadians were first employed by the restaurant industry, making it the number one source of first jobs.
CRFA is one of Canada's largest business associations, with more than 30,000 members representing restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and other foodservice providers. Canada's restaurant industry generates $68 billion annually in economic activity and employs more than 1.1 million people in communities across the country.
SOURCE: Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association