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Regional district plans for future of waste

The current solid waste management plan was created in 1996.
The new recycle depot at the Smithers-Telkwa Transfer Station. This gives rural residents a place to drop off their recycling after the bottle depot stopped accepting most material earlier this year. Materials such as glass and Styrofoam that aren’t accepted through the curbside program can also be brought there. More information can be found at (Marisca Bakker photo)

The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) environmental services staff last Thursday presented a draft of its new solid waste management plan to Smithers and Telkwa councils.

The current solid waste management plan was created in 1996. In 2017, the RDBN initiated a review of the 1996 waste management plan in order to set new goals and strategies for the next 10 years.

Some guiding principles of the new plan are the promotion of zero waste approaches and supporting a circular economy; providing equitable access to waste management and diversion opportunities between regions; and collaborative partnerships.

“I’m really encouraged by the direction things are heading,” Smithers Mayor Taylor Bachrach said. “When you compare our regional district to other regional districts in the province, we’re not performing as well as we could be when it comes to waste diversion. I’m looking forward to hearing the feedback from the community and eventually seeing a plan in place that reduces the amount of garbage we send to the landfill.”

The RDBN also held a public consultation at Smithers Old Church later that evening.

Smithers was just the latest stop in the RDBN tour of the district explaining its plan. Earlier in the week they made a presentation to the Village of Telkwa’s council.

“I think it’s great,” Telkwa Mayor Darcy Repen said. “I think the Regional District’s initiatives are going to carry over into the Village of Telkwa when we’re looking at things like reducing our organic materials that are going into the landfill.”

Once the RDBN has finished consulting the public, municipal and First Nations partners, it will update the plan based on the feedback it has been given and submit the plan for approval from B.C.’s Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy.

A copy of the plan is available on the RDBN’s website. Anyone who wants to express their thoughts or concerns about the plan can complete an online survey that is also available on the RDBN’s website.

The reuse shed at the Smithers/Telkwa Transfer Station. (Marisca Bakker photo)