Despite higher costs, the extra two hours available to utilize the Cochrane Eco Centre on Thursday nights will continue until the end of September.

The town conducted a one-year pilot project of opening the centre on Thursdays until 7 p.m. year round. Town administration believes the benefits of providing the extended summer hours offset the additional costs of keeping it open, but to drop them from October to April.

"We do know that the summer months between May and September are busy months for our residents.," waste and recycling manager Fabrizio Bertolo told town council during its May 1 committee-of-the-whole meeting. "They clean up their garages and basements and mostly there is the yard waste component that was not in winter, so it can add up with all the yard waste, branches, leaves, and grass clippings. We want to give the opportunity for our community to be able to access the center over in summer when we have that extra waste generated." 

The average staff cost to operate for those two hours is $7.27, more than double the regular hour cost of $3.77. During the pilot, it saw an average of seven vehicles per hour. During regular hours it's typically 28 vehicles with a staff cost of $3.77 per vehicle.

Even fewer area residents took advantage of the extended hours from October to April. During those two extra hours, the centre served an average of four vehicles per hour at a staffing cost of $13.00 per vehicle. It won't be continued this winter.

From May 1 to Sept. 30, the centre is open are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursdays. From October to April, it's open Tuesday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The centre is located at 50 Griffin Industrial Point.