Firefighters attempt to put out a May 9 fire at the Smithers recycling depot. (Thom Barker photo)

Still no solution for Smithers/Telkwa recycling depot

It’s been over half a year since a May 9 fire destroyed the Smithers Recycling Centre on Tatlow Road

The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) is hoping to find a solution to the loss of the Smithers recycling depot following a May 9 fire.

At the Nov. 12 Smithers Town council meeting RDBN Electoral Area A Director Mark Fisher told the Town RDBN plans to meet with the Ministry of Environment to discuss a solution about the issue by phone this week.

He said the RDBN and Recycle BC had been in talks about trying to build a miniature consolidative centre in order to deal with Telkwa and Smithers’ bailing material.

READ MORE: Recycling to go temporarily to dump

However Fisher said the RDBN found the parameters to be too financially onerous to the regional district.

“At the end of the day it would cost taxpayers another $144,000 a year to operate the facility, so there wasn’t much of an appetite from the board table to do that.”

Fisher said the point of the upcoming meeting, which will take place by phone, is to try and find a mutually-agreeable fix to the problem.

“Our goal is to come up with a long-term solution for consolidating of … bailing processing material in the Bulkley Valley.”

Fisher suggested a solution could include a facility in either region but that both the RDBN and Recycle BC have yet to iron out the details.

However he also cautioned that the RDBN’s perspective is the responsibility of replacing the depot falls under the category of a Recycle BC problem, and not a regional district one.

“From the regional district perspective … it is recycle BC’s responsibility,” said Fisher. “We feel that the money that goes into the program should be paying enough to operate these facilities. We’re willing to put in capital money but not [at an] ongoing loss to the community.”

Councillor Frank Wray agreed.

“I feel that it’s their responsibility,” Wray said, adding he feels it’s time to hold Recycle BC’s feet to the fire.

In the context of the recycling depot, the Town’s responsibility is to pick up recycling at the curb and deliver it to a depot, he said.

Providing that drop-off point, however, is the responsibility of Recycle BC.

READ MORE: Smithers recycling depot ablaze

“I would even be reluctant to support the [regional district] providing capital money,” said Wray. “They had a contract with us to provide the north recycling, they were to collect it and bail it. It’s unfortunate that the bailing facility burnt down but that is a Recycle BC problem in my opinion.”

The councillor also acknowledged it’s been over sixth months since the May 9 fire.

“I’m sure there could have been a temporary solution found by now. I don’t know what it is, but we’ve been a long time without recycling.”

In the meantime, Fisher said the next step is to follow up with both municipalities to get an understanding of how they would like to see the problem addressed.



trevor.hewitt@interior-news.com

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