The Smithers and Area Recycling Society will not be laying off staff due to the Town of Smithers’ implementation of curbside recycling in May.
At the regular Town of Smithers council meeting on March 25, society members Earnie Harding and Art Mortensen made a presentation and said under the current MMBC contract, the group’s facility on Tatlow Road and their equipment will go to waste, and 10 of their 12 staff will have to be laid off.
Harding and Mortenson expressed frustration with council over the signing of the contract and the fact their group wasn’t successful in becoming MMBC’s post-collection facility for the Bulkley Valley.
At the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako board meeting last week, directors voted to continue funding all of the recycling organizations in the region that don’t have contracts with MMBC.
In the Bulkley Valley, only Smithers and Telkwa have signed contracts with MMBC to provide curbside recycling services. Anyone living outside of these areas will need a place to take their recycling, said RDBN director and Smithers Mayor Taylor Bachrach.
“There are a lot of other communities that won’t have any MMBC service so the directors chose to keep funding those organizations at previous levels until such time that they are able to negotiate a MMBC contract if that’s the direction they want to go in,” he said.
“[The Smithers and Area Recycling Society’s depot] plays an important role and we certainly don’t want to see that depot close. It fills a really important niche.”
Because of this funding, and some pending grant applications, Harding said it looked like it would be business as usual at the group’s facility.
“That facility will continue on as it is now,” he said. “It’s there to service any residents who want to use it as an alternative to curbside, it will service all the [regional district] Area A residents and it will service industrial, commercial and institutional needs as well as apartments.
“We have all the equipment and we’ll continue servicing the customers we have in Smithers, Telkwa and the outside area.”
Now, the Smithers and Area Recycling Society is waiting to hear if they can make a deal with a contractor to also become a post-collection for the curbside recycling program. Harding said he was hoping to hear more in the next week.
The Smithers and Area Recycling Society provides employment opportunities to adult with developmental disabilities.