Calgary city council approves $18.3M upgrade to curbside bins

The $500k "Travelling Light"
The $500k “Travelling Light”

CALGARY, Alberta – In a move that is sure to draw the ire of the local taxpayers federation, Calgary’s city council voted 11 to 1 in favour of approving an upgrade to curbside waste and recycling bins that will cost taxpayers $18,313,862.

This latest attempt to beautify residential city streets comes on the heels of the city erecting a controversial, oversized, overpriced, 17m tall street lamp in the city’s North end called the “Travelling Light.”

City council voted in favour of this move despite not fully understanding how the project is going to be funded.

glen pound
Blane Cheating

We can’t just stop after the successful implementation of the blue wedding ring in the north part of the city – Calgarians have spoken and it is very clear that they want more, and we’re going to give it to them.

How often do you see those drab black and blue bins on the streets and on peoples’ driveways? They are terrible. Originally, Nenshi talked about painting them all his signature Nenshi purple, but then Councillor Chu figured if we paint them with art, they might just be distracting enough to cause cyclists to fall off their bikes and die. So, we decided, why not put kids’ artwork on them. Done. – Ward 13 Councillor Blane Cheating

According to the minutes from the council meeting where this plan was approved, which were made available under the Freedom of Information Act, the City will arrange to have bins transported to elementary schools throughout the city, where they will be hand-painted by children K through 4 at special assemblies held by art teachers.

Artist's rendition of a bin painted with art
Artist’s rendition of a bin painted with art

The children will be directed to be just be creative and paint whatever comes to them; the more abstract the better. Miss Soupcoolers from the publicly-funded Elbow Park Elementary Academy comments on the new plan,

This is exactly what the students need, an outlet to express themselves in a harmless way that will make its mark for quite a long time. I have a few students whose artwork might have to be censored thanks to what they’ve learned from their overworked parents who are some sort of oil and gas executives, but that’s okay. – Miss Soupcoolers, art teacher

Opponents to the idea argue that there is no room in the City’s budget to cover the $18.3M cost. To this, Mayor Nenshi responded that the City will find a way as it always does.

Mayor Nenshi
Mayor Nenshi

I think Calgarians want this to happen even if they don’t know they want it to happen, and it will happen, because I can make it happen.

I’ll arrange a small Nenshi-Nade stand in Olympic Plaza to raise the money needed, and if that fails, I’ll sell a few of my purple suits to raise the capital, or up the fines for infractions of the Downtown Core Dresscode.  This project will go ahead no matter what obstacles are put in front if it, just like the Peace Bridge.

Suggestions for similar future projects include having kids go on field trips to paint the big green bins in the parking lots of the box stores, and bring kids from other cities to Calgary in an effort to prove that the western business capital has culture just like some of the bigger cities it wants to be when it grows up.

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