Kamloops may see new company sorting recyclables in 2016

KAMLOOPS - Recyclables collected by the City of Kamloops, both at depots and curbside, could be sorted by a new company come the new year.

“We have already gone out to (request for proposals) to renew the contract essentially. To look for processors who can do the same work starting Jan. 1,” Public Works Director Jen Fretz says, adding bids will be brought forward for council approval Dec. 1.

Fretz says two companies have come forward with a proposal, including current contractor Emterra Environmental. 

Emterra Environmental was engaged in a lengthy labour dispute this past summer. The company’s employees, represented by the Steelworkers’ Union, voted to strike June 22 and the two sides were unable to reach an agreement until Aug. 13.

During the time of the strike, curbside recycling pickup ceased in Kamloops. Recycling depots around the city were also closed, forcing residents to either store their recyclables or bring them to depots like General Grants.

The city originally claimed a strike would not affect curbside pickup because the contract with the contractor stated the company had to provide an alternative location to sort in case of strike. However, in practice, it was not a workable option as picket lines could form at the new facility and the city does not have a facility large enough to collect and store recyclables, Mayor Peter Milobar said.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dana Reynolds at dreynolds@infonews.ca or call 250-819-6089. To contact an editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

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