Regional District imposes salvage ban, violating Canada’s Environment Act and ignoring constituents’ wishes

Regional District imposes salvage ban, violating Canada’s Environment Act and ignoring constituents’ wishes

Chris La Sha encourages those concerned how ban affects environment to contact RDBN.


As many now know, the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) has again placed a ban on all salvage for reuse of the scrap metal pile at transfer sites, etc.

This, you may remember, was attempted last year but was cancelled by a sizable opposition from salvagers (reusers). Why are these directors determined to do this? Do they have a “hearing” problem or is it more likely a “listening” problem?

While the published reason given (Interior News Sept. 6 issue) is liability, discussions with RDBN personnel indicates that the main reason is the problem of commercial salvaging, which reduces the monies the District gets from the sale of this material for recycling (smelting). There is no ban on salvaging and reuse of lumber.

The problem then is their failure to stop commercial salvaging and so they’ve bowed to the expedient and placed a wholesale ban, thus penalizing everyone. This not only reflects a lack of imagination and intenstinal fortitude of management, but considering the outrageous amount of fines ($500 minimum to $10,000 maximum) and to the fact that persons fined can be banned from using the transfer sites, it indicates a certain “jack booting” contempt for constituents who reuse.

The selling of this material for recycling defrays operating expenses but it is a blatant violation fo the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) 1999.

The mantra of this Act or the three Rs are reduce (landfills), REUSE (salvage and reuse), and recycle (last resort, creates high energy use, pollution and increases carbon footprint).

It is ironic and hypocritical that the RDBN has an environmental department; what on Earth do they do?

Now with reference to the actual bylaw as published Sept. 6, and I quote from section 8.6, “All materials deposited at a facility becomes the property of the Regional District.”

Who, I ask, is or are the “Regional District” but the property owners, the taxpayers and certainly not the directors of the RDBN; as similarly in a corporation the assets of the company are owned by the shareholders and certainly not by the board of directors unless they own shares themselves, and it doesn’t take a “judgement of Solomon” to conclude that it’s these folks the taxpayers who should decide how this material is used (reused).

Let’s be clear here, all that needs to be done here plain and simple is to ban commercial salvaging – it’s really that simple!

Presently, this huge and rapidly growing pile is becoming a liability, what with the large amount of contamination of non-metals as well as the plunging value of scrap metal currently at $40/ton compared to a previous high of $200/ton.

No one will even bid on this pile, instead will charge to have it hauled away. This is an important enough issue and there are a huge number of fellow salvagers (reusers), enough I believe to justify a referendum.

In any case, the RDBN will only be able to maintain this ban by default. That is because no one or not enough people care enough to get involved and so I urge everyone, not only salvagers (reusers), but all concerned about the environment to contact the Regional District at 1-800-320-3339, email inquiries to or better yet contact your mayors.

Chris La Sha P Eng