The Loose Leaf collection program has ended, zone four did not get full service. Program is under review.

News 100 greenBy Staff

December 11th, 2019

Burlington, ON


The Loose Leaf Collection Program has officially, and finally, been completed for 2019.

Residents with remaining leaves can bag them for Halton Region’s Yard Waste Collection, which has been extended until Dec. 20, 2019.
Leaf collection in Zones 1, 2 and 3 were completed.


Will the Provincial Review of services the city delivers decide that the Loose Leaf Collection should end ?

This year’s loose leaf collection had scheduling and operational problems due to challenging weather patterns which started with a very early snow storm on November 11, freezing temperatures and precipitation. The machinery used cannot pick up frozen leaves. When the temperatures returned to normal, crews worked long hours to complete Zones 2 and 3 before the unfavorable weather returned.

In total, ten days of loose leaf collection were lost due to the weather.

The City cannot do leaf collection and snow clearing at the same time because the same trucks are used for each service. The trucks need to have the leaf collection equipment removed and the plow blades and sand/salt spreading equipment attached.

Service Review
The Province of Ontario has provided funding to municipalities and school boards throughout the province to conduct independent reviews to find efficiencies while protecting important front-line services. Loose Leaf Collection was one of the four City of Burlington services reviewed.

The consultant’s final report will be delivered to the Province by Dec. 31, 2019.


Mary Battaglia, Director of Roads, Parks and Forestry.

Mary Battaglia, Director of Roads, Parks and Forestry said: “This was a challenging year. I would like to acknowledge all of the hard work our crews put in to collecting leaves and removing snow as well as our admin staff. We can’t collect leaves and remove snow at the same time and snow removal will always take priority.

We are very aware of the challenges that rescheduling and cancelling leaf collection means for residents and we greatly appreciate all the residents who bagged their leaves and exercised patience and understanding.

Our focus is now on clearing roads.”

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7 comments to The Loose Leaf collection program has ended, zone four did not get full service. Program is under review.

  • Jim

    Lets face it,, if the issue is not regarding high rise buildings in downtown, then there is NO Issue.
    We have a street that has not seen a layer of pavement in 30 years. Perhaps they can pack the leaves in the pot holes .I was under the impression we lived on a Burlington street, Not Burlington Street!
    Tim Commisso and Mayor Mary are big talkers weak on results.

  • Don Lomas

    I live in Zone 1, so our second collection was cancelled without proper communication from the City. I was in London shortly after and saw, what I believe, is a better system. London does not have the street leaf pickup, just normal leaf bag garbage service. Citizens, however, can go to one of the three container stations in the city and ask for the paper leaf bags which are free. This service appears cheaper to the tax payer and easier to budget for the City staff. Allow a certain number of bags per household, say ten for example and add to the budget. No staff or equipment required and weather is not an issue.

  • S G

    There were noises about cancelling the program.
    If the leaves fall from “city trees” are they not “city leaves”? And so……

  • Stephen White

    Wouldn’t it be nice if all of us, when faced with obstacles in our personal or professional lives, could just throw up our hands, say “enough”, and then just walk away from our problems or issues?

    News flash: the current practice isn’t working….and hasn’t worked well for several years. Time to hit the “reset” button. Here are a couple of suggestions the City could/should consider:

    1) Designate areas of municipal public parks as leaf collection points. Put snow fencing around the collection point. Nearby residents could collect their leaves in paper bags, containers or whatever they’ve got, and take them to these designated spots. The City could then put the leaves through the leaf shredders, and then spray the compost on the grass. Considering the deplorable state of some of our parks any effort at natural fertilization would be welcomed.

    2) Make available for purchase at a nominal cost to residents large, recyclable plastic bags (e.g. 6′ x 10′). Have residents fill the bags with leaves, tie them up, and then put the recyclable bags at the curb. City personnel could come by, empty the bags into the back of a track, and then return the bags to the residents. We could then avoid having the bulldozers, street washers and army of City employees that are needed to clean up the muck that is left over from the current process. And even if it snows, leaf pickup can continue.

    There are probably several other options that could be explored. Of course, if your sole purpose as an employee is to just do your little job without ever exploring how it could be done better, more efficiently, or cheaper, then I suppose the status quo is your preferred approach.

  • Elan

    The weather delay was no more than 10 days. I believe, from my interactions, this was a major surpirse to Councillors, and in response, they lobbied hard for many, and any, alternatives for their residents, to accomodate, for which Mary, the Mayor and the City Manager refused to entertain. Given the facts, it is obvious Mary resisted any alternatives to work around the 10 day snow delay. I am no fan of the loose leaf pickup. It is a luxury not many cities can afford. TBurlington already pays for Regional Bag Leaf pickup. But the short-notice, ye, non-notice approach by the City staff was not OK. Nor was hanging all the Coucillors affected out to dry on this issue. It certainly wasn’t Mary fielding all the calls.

    • Phillip Wooster

      Here’s the major problem–the snowstorm cancelled the first leaf pickup and is understandable given the weather event. The problem is that the pickup schedule should have been resumed focusing on the second leaf pickup according to the original schedule. In South Burlington, this meant that the second leaf pickup would have been done the first week in December–the proper scheduling to account for all the leaves falling. Instead, someone forgot to tell City Hall that the leaves weren’t down when they did the pickup nearly two weeks early. The result–a mess with leaves left everywhere, was easily foreseeable. Secondly, it appears that many residents just assumed that the second leaf pickup would go ahead as scheduled–it didn’t, with the result that many piles of leaves are now waiting in South Burlington for the snow plows to remove them. And one of the worst examples is on the grassy median (city property) along New Street, north side, at Pine Cove Road–these piles of leaves are just left there. Care to guess how much sod will be needed in the spring to replace the dead grass? Guess who’s going to pay for it?

      Many residents want to cancel the loose leaf pickup–good luck with that idea! Here’s the problem–the majority of these leaves are from CITY trees. And given the high horse that the City is on about “THEY OWN THE TREES, WE CAN’T TOUCH THEM”–I’ll be damned if I’m picking up their mess. I’ll gladly clean up the mess from MY trees. The City’s leaves will be just left to blow around with the attendant problems this creates. This year’s mess in South Burlington will look pristine in comparison with what will happen with no leaf pickup.

  • RobN

    A bit of clarification is required here.

    The article states “Leaf collection in Zones 1, 2 and 3 were completed.”

    If by “completed”, the City means that 2 pickups were scheduled and 1 was completed. Then yes, the pickups were completed.

    By most people’s standards, one of the two pickups were completed, the second one was not.