Curbside recycling is coming to the Town of Smithers.
At the regular council meeting Nov. 26, a motion was passed to enter into an agreement with Multi-Material BC to begin a curbside recycling service starting May 2014. Councillors also decided to reduce garbage collection to bi-weekly, with recycling to be picked up on off weeks.
“I think this is something a lot of people in the community support, we have had a lot of positive feedback,” said Mayor Taylor Bachrach. “What it comes down to for me is what is our vision for the community? There are always going to be unknowns. Really it’s about long term, 10 years down the road. Where do we want to get and how do we get there?”
MMBC was tasked by the provincial government to assume responsibility for managing residential packaging and printed paper on behalf of industry beginning May 2014.
Discussion at the meeting centred around what many Councillors said was a one-sided contract not able to work for all communities. Town staff raised concerns about the agreement including unknown commitments of staffing/personnel and equipment and the length of the contract. Council was also unable to get a response from MMBC on the location of the town’s recycling depot, which according to the agreement could be as far away as 60 kms.
In the end, only Deputy Mayor Frank Wray voted against the motion to sign the curbside recycling agreement.
He cited the numerous issues he had with how the contract was written and MMBC’s take-it-or-leave-it attitude.
“I want to make it clear,” Wray said. “I’m against this contract, I’m not against recycling.”
The Village of Telkwa also voted to enter into a contract with MMBC at their Monday night council meeting. They have already been collecting their residents’ recycling for the last three years.
Terrace is the only other municipality in the region that has come to terms with MMBC.
The curbside recycling service should not affect municipal tax rates.
MMBC is providing funding for communities on a per capita basis, which should offset any additional costs for residents, Bachrach said.
“The calculations our staff have done show that with the proposed program potentially residents won’t see any increased costs from what they’re paying now but they’ll be getting two different services,” he said.
The Town of Smithers will now be working on a communications plan to let residents know more about the program, Bachrach said.
“This is going to be a big adjustment for everybody,” he said.