Burns Lake entertains curbside recycling

Curbside recycling of printed paper and packaging may be coming to the Village of Burns Lake soon.

Curbside recycling of printed paper and packaging (PPP) may be coming to the Village of Burns Lake (VBL) soon.

Village council held a special meeting of council on Aug. 29 to discuss a request from a provincial agency – Multi-Material BC (MMBC) – that the village respond by Sept. 15, 2013 to an offer of financial incentive to early adopters of MMBC’s PPP recycling effort.

The so-called Stewardship Plan for Packaging and Printed Paper was conceived by MMBC in response to new recycling regulations introduced by the province in 2004.

According to a council report prepared by Jeff Ragsdale, VBL development services coordinator, the goal of the plan is to unload the cost of recycling onto producers and consumers, and take it away from the taxpayer. The program intends to achieve a 75 per cent province-wide recycling rate.

Financial incentives of up to $23,400 per year for five years are on offer by MMBC to those municipalities and regions that choose to buy into the program.

Refusing to come on board would mean that MMBC might pursue other means of establishing PPP recycling in Burns Lake, potentially through contracts with private enterprise. It could also mean that MMBC would choose not to provide any local recycling-receiving facilities close to Burns Lake, which would, presumably, increase the cost of recycling at a later date.

If the VBL gets on board with MMBC, then MMBC will not only make a five-year financial commitment to Burns Lake in the form of cash incentives to offset the cost of recycling PPP, but MMBC would also commit to establishing a recycling facility within 60 kms of Burns Lake.

A PPP recycling facility is not the same thing as a recycling depot. A recycling facility is where everything collected, either at a recycling depot or through curbside recycling, would end up for post-collection processing.

The downside to signing on with MMBC is three-fold: the financial incentives on offer would not cover the operational cost of the program; second, the financial incentives do not cover initial capital costs, like specialized collection trucks and green bins; and finally, there are cash penalties payable by the municipality for failure to meet the MMBC ‘master service agreement’ regarding contamination of PPP recyclable materials by non-recyclable waste.

Concern regarding these stiff financial penalties recently swayed the City of Prince George (PG) to reject the MMBC offer on Aug. 27, 2013.

As reported by the Prince George Free Press, research conducted by a PG special committee into the matter had determined that the three per cent contamination threshold found in the MMBC master service agreement is well below the five to seven per cent actual contamination levels found in municipalities that already run similar programs.

A $5,000 penalty per load of above-threshold contaminated waste is written into the master agreement.

The PG municipal committee estimated that PG and its taxpayers, could be on the hook for up to $2 million in fines every year, given the size of the city and how many loads of recyclable material it would send to a post-collection facility.

It is not clear from the VBL staff report how much material would be produced in the VBL on a ‘number of loads’ basis, so it isn’t clear what level of financial penalty the VBL could face. This is part of the challenge that VBL council faces in dealing with the MMBC proposal.

Prince George’s decision not to accept MMBC’s offer to implement a subsidized recycling program means that MMBC will have to come up with an alternate means of delivering the service in order to meet the provincial 75 per cent PPP recycling target.

Village of Burns Lake council, after studied consideration of the MMBC proposal, elected to make a non-binding agreement to consider moving forward with curbside recycling. If, upon further review, the finances make sense, and if the public is on board, then the VBL would proceed with the project

One possibility is that the village might team with the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako (RDBN) on the recycling project, both in terms of pooling resources and in terms of a cash reserve held by the RDBN – more than $200,000 earmarked for recycling efforts – that may be available to offset the capital cost of purchasing new equipment.

A used specialized garbage truck for picking up PPP recyclables would cost about $76,000. Curbside recycle bins would cost the village approximately $76,000.

Annual costs to run the service could be in the order of $50,000 per year for part-time staff and related expenses, according to Ragsdale’s report.

It is important to note that operational costs are tentative because it isn’t clear how recycling might offset costs already associated with general garbage pick-up.

One avenue to be explored by council with the RDBN is the possibility that some of the $70,000 collected per year in taxation from VBL residents for waste disposal might be clawed back from the RDBN if less waste is going to RDBN-managed landfills.

This idea is likely to meet strong resistance from the RDBN. Bill Miller, RDBN chair, explained that the taxation is not a fee for service, but reflects the cost of waste management throughout the region once spread fairly amongst taxpayers.

Miller said that if there were a savings in waste management costs thanks to PPP recycling, then those savings would be passed on to residents in terms of reduced taxes, and not in terms of the RDBN giving money back the village to run its PPP program.

Village council is caught between wanting to take advantage of the opportunity to step up recycling in the municipality, while facing a host of unknowns.

“We can do some good,” said Ragsdale. “We have a real opportunity, although it depends on how it’s implemented.”

The decision by council to indicate that they are interested in starting curbside recycling under the MMBC PPP program means that the VBL will be eligible for financial subsidies should a final contract be negotiated.

The decision to consider curbside recycling is not legally binding, Ragsdale’s report emphasized.

Assuming the VBL was satisfied with negotiations, a contract could be in place as early as the end of October with a May 19, 2014 start-up date for the PPP recycling program.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vehicles waiting for the highway to reopen. (Shashank Bangera photo/Lakes District News)
Vehicle incident claims life on Highway 16 east of Burns Lake

The accident resulted in highway closure

The victim of a homicide in Houston is Pietro Adamo. (Photo courtesy the RCMP)
Man dies from injuries following assault

Investigators looking for information on this homicide

Stikine provincial election candidates (clockwise from top left): Nathan Cullen, NDP; Darcy Repen, Rural BC Party; Rod Taylor, Christian Heritage; and Gordon Sebastian, BC Liberals.
‘Where is Annita McPhee?’: Cullen under fire from opening salvo of all-candidates forum

Four Stikine candidates spar during online debate from Prestige Hudson Bay Lodge in Smithers

(Wet'suwet'en Access Point on Gidimt'en Territory Facebook screenshot)
Ceremony a right at proposed CGL pipeline drill site: BC Union of Indian Chiefs

Indigenous land defenders cannot be criminalized and targeted, argues UBCIC

(File graphic)
Man dies in Gitlaxt’aamiks (New Aiyansh) after being taken into police custody

IIO and BC Corners Service conducting independent investigations

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry answers questions during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. sees record-breaking daily COVID infections with 499 new cases over weekend

Two people, both in the Lower Mainland, died due to the virus over the weekend

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A B.C. man decided to create a website to help people find family doctors accepting patients. Because Victoria is considered high-demand, clinic openings can’t be posted publicly. (Unsplash)
Vancouver Island man starts website that connects B.C. residents with doctors

Nanaimo man started project to help people find family physicians accepting patients

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

Grant and Barbara Howse, in quarantine in Invermere. Mike Turner photo
Denied entry into U.S., Kootenay couple still forced to quarantine for 2 weeks

The rules around crossing the U.S. border led to a bizarre situation for an Invermere couple

Most Read