Did delays in Waterloo Region’s garbage, recycling and green bin collection over the holidays make you frustrated?

Politicians and civil servants say they feel the same way.

“It was an unfortunate incident, and we really appreciate the residents’ patience,” Jon Arsenault, the region’s director of waste management, said Tuesday.

During the week of Dec. 26, crews were regularly behind on their collection routes by as much as a day.

Although residents were initially told that their waste would be picked up by Dec. 31 – a Saturday – workers didn’t hit every outstanding house that day, meaning some people ended up waiting nearly another week.

Arsenault says a number of factors came together “like a perfect storm” to cause the delays.

The three main issues were poor road conditions due to inclement weather, higher-than-usual volumes of trash left at the roadside during the week after Christmas, and a shortage of people interested in working on statutory holidays.

That last issue wasn’t a problem in other years, officials say, because it was only about a year ago that statutory holidays became official days off for Waste Management employees.

Coun. Tom Galloway says the region’s contract with Waste Management allows them to pursue legal avenues to seek damages from the company.

“There are some legal ramifications that the region will pursue with them for some non-performance, but all in all we’re satisfied that Waste Management is going to be able to make things right,” he said in an interview.

Waste Management has only a short period of time left until it is no longer the company responsible for picking up curbside waste in Waterloo Region.

In March, a new contract with Miller Waste Systems takes effect.

“We’re confident … that the language in the new contract has been changed to protect us a little bit more,” Arsenault said.

When the new contract comes into effect, garbage pickup will be reduced to once every two weeks. Recycling and green bins will still be collected on a weekly basis.

With reporting by Allison Tanner