Council is deciding next week whether to unleash these ad-toting trash bins on our city streets.The deal means ad revenue for the city, but isn't control of our public spaces infinitely more valuable?
What Eucan (Urban Equipment of Canada) is proposing
Replacing existing SilverBox trash bins with 2,500 new EcoMupis with advertising and 2,500 EcoBoxes without advertising.
The carrot being dangled
Eucan is offering to pay the city $20 per EcoMupi per month and 10 per cent of gross revenue from advertising on the bins.
Eucan wants the city to extend its problematic current contract, which expires in 2009, to 2015.
The 3,000 SilverBoxes these newfangled monsters will replace are to be "donated" to the city and placed in parks - like trading in one garbage mess for another.
Why city staff recommends council not adopt Eucan's proposal
Uncertainties about financial benefits, the fact that another competitor may offer a better deal and concerns that giant bins will be a blight on the streetscape.
Staff says we only need 1,000 additional recycling/litter bins, not the 5,000 being pushed by Eucan.
Eucan says the EcoMupis make a smaller "footprint" than the SilverBoxes currently in use: 7.7 square feet versus 11.02 square feet respectively.
The virtual reality
The visual "footprint" made by the bins - these babies feature not one, but two bus-shelter-size billboards - is actually 50 per cent larger and a whopping 80 per cent higher than the SilverBoxes.
The bins themselves contravene the city's own sign bylaw prohibiting signs larger than sandwich boards on sidewalks.
The bins also include a monitor for "public information" (read more advertising).
Attempt to tantalize eco heads
The bins collect batteries for recycling.
They collect 10 litres more bottles and cans, and 10 litres more recyclable paper than SilverBoxes.
But the truth is
You can't reduce waste by putting large ads on street corners encouraging people to buy more stuff.
The vast majority of waste comes not from pedestrians but from private companies. Shouldn't we be passing tighter packaging laws instead?
EcoMupis require electrical hookups to power their billboards. Guess who'll be paying for that?
Do we need another commercial eyesore mucking up public space -- not to mention posing safety hazards for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists?
Signs fix may be in anyway
The mayor loves them, and both the works committee and priorities and finance committee have voted to go for the Eucan proposal - despite staff objections.