Sault Ste. Marie is removing its downtown trash bins for the winter, but the Downtown Association says it's baffled by the decision to not put in permanent bins. (Christian D'Avino/CTV News)

Sault Ste. Marie will once again be removing its trash bins downtown this month for the winter, but the decision isn't sitting well with some business owners.

A director for the Downtown Association says only six small bins will be left at bus stops on Queen Street, which, he said, is an insufficient amount.

"Everyone else has bins during the winter time, Sault Ste. Marie doesn't," said Paul Mason. "That's not fair because winter time, coffee cups, poo bags, garbage, masks, everywhere that are not being cleaned up and our members pay for that."

The City of Greater Sudbury leaves most of its bins out year-round. Mason said most northern municipalities do the same thing.

As for the six bins that will remain downtown, they are managed and paid for by public transit, not by public works at the city.

Where tax dollars go

Mason said it leaves him wondering what tax dollars go towards, if the city is not removing trash over the winter.

"Last year, they added new metal bins closer to GFL Memorial Gardens on Queen," he said. "Those bins weren't designed big enough to fit a coffee cup through the hole, which was eventually fixed, but now, they're putting those same flawed bins on Bay Street. It doesn't make sense."

City officials say Sault Ste. Marie has historically removed its trash bins in winter. A director for public works said this year, the city is stretched too thin when it comes to snow removal, making it difficult to take care of garbage.

"It's particularly based on people and crews, we would certainly be feeling the affects of it, it would be an increased level of service," said Susan Hamilton Beach.

Hamilton Beach declined to comment on why the same metal bins were put in place on Bay Street, but she said the city intends to put more similar black bins found at Queen Street bus stops.

Those bins would also be contracted out to the same company as transit contracts for its garbage bin removal.

"If they provide a service in a way that's acceptable from our maintenance standards throughout this winter, then we would make that judgement call for next year," she said.

But with no timeline for when those will go up, the Downtown Association says it likely won't make much a difference.