March 19, 2014 - 11:29 AM
PROVINCIAL RECYCLING PROGRAM TURNS DOWN CITY
KAMLOOPS — First we didn't want in, then we opted to sign on, and now we've been booted out. The choice of Multi Material B.C. to drop Kamloops from the provincial recycling program is the latest in a string of changes to the Kamloops recycling landscape.
Nearly 90 communities have been accepted into the program, which was created after the province changed the recycling regulations to make producers responsible for the recycling costs.
Managing Director Allen Langdon says they would have liked to include Kamloops but all the cities that have been accepted had committed to the program by Sept. 16 while Kamloops had not.
“Kamloops originally declined the incentive and then came late (in) November and asked for reconsideration,” Langdon says. “We said we would have to wait and see if we would have the capacity... and we don't have the capacity to include Kamloops in the program at this time.”
Kamloops originally said no because of concerns with the program details, and a list of those concerns accompanied the opt-out response sent to the company. A short time later the program extended the deadline to sign up and gave more information to help ease concerns over some of the restrictions and fines. It was at this point Kamloops councillors decided to change their minds and sign on.
Public Works director Jen Fretz says while she was essentially told the same thing as to why the city has not been included she feels the rules changed a bit as they went on, which was frustrating for staff because they put in 'countless hours' of 'intense' work to get the information before council and back to the program coordinators in time.
“From my perspective they changed what they said they were going to do,” she says.
Fretz notes because of the wording saying no conditions could be listed with a yes response staff thought they were in the same boat as the many other communities expressing concern.
“When MMBC first put out information it was yes or no, not yes with conditions. Council directed us to say no, but to give reasons. Other communities said yes with conditions,” she says. “Because of that we thought we were in the same boat.”
Curbside pickup will now remain 'status quo' in Kamloops with no additional products set to be accepted at this point. The provincial program will provide depots in Kamloops for additional recyclables not currently allowed in curbside pickup.
Rates will not change this year but because the city will not be receiving the $1.1 million in revenue originally budgeted for acting as a contractor for the provincial program Fretz anticipates there will likely be a request to increase rates for 2015. She notes this could change depending on how things play out in 2015 with the program.
Langdon says only one or two communities were not accepted at this point but Kamloops has been put on a waiting list for future opportunities. A number of other communities had also expressed interest but wanted to wait a year before possibly joining.
One of the post collection companies accepted into the program is Emterra Environmental, the company the City of Kamloops currently works with under the city recycling program.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014