The public works and infrastructure committee has voted in favour of a controversial proposal to privatize garbage collection in Scarborough.

The six-person committee voted in favour of the proposal following a debate that dragged on for most of the day on Wednesday.

The proposal, which still needs to be approved by council, calls for the city to hold a managed competition procurement process for District 4, which includes all of Scarborough, while leaving garbage collection in District 3 to unionized city workers for now.

The managed competition procurement process would allow both private companies and the city’s unionized workers to submit bids.

Garbage collection was already privatized west of Yonge Street in districts one and two in 2012.

“It is time to do a proper market sounding and get actual costs from the market and not back-of-napkin analysis,” Public Works Chair Jaye Robinson told reporters following the vote. “No one should be afraid of getting real numbers and making decisions based on facts.”

A number of councillors have said that privatizing garbage collection in Scarborough could actually cost taxpayers more money in the long term, but Robinson said that the city needs to institute a competitive bid process so there can be an “apples to apples comparison.”

“What we want is real numbers,” she said. “That’s what this process allows us to do. All parties can be a part of this process whether private sector or union.”

Officials with CUPE Local 416 have estimated that the privatization of garbage collection in District 4 could mean the loss of 200 to 250 unionized jobs.

Speaking with reporters following the vote, CUPE Local 416 Vice-President Matt Figliano said he sees the proposal as an “ideological attack” on his members.

“There is no rhyme nor reason for this other than the political objective to contract out city services,” he said.

Figliano would not comment on whether his union would bid for the right to continue collecting garbage in District 4.

Instead, Figliano repeatedly stated that his union has a contract, which runs until Dec. 31, 2019.

“We are having our legal team looking over everything to see if there is anything there but we are under contract,” he said.