The Burns Lake re-use shed was one of the re-use sheds that reopened with new rules

The Burns Lake re-use shed was one of the re-use sheds that reopened with new rules

Local re-use sheds reopen

The re-use sheds now have hours of operation, staff and regular inspections.

Some of the re-use sheds within the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) reopened on May 26, including the ones in Burns Lake, Southside and Granisle.

During a RDBN meeting last March, some directors expressed how pressured they had been by community members to reopen the re-use sheds. The facilities were closed in September 2015 prior to any community consultations.

“I can’t keep saying ‘I don’t know [when the re-use sheds will reopen] anymore,’” said Mark Fisher, Director of Electoral Area A (Smithers Rural), last March. “I need some timelines.”

The re-use sheds have reopened with staff and new hours of operation. The public is being requested to only drop off items during operational hours. The RDBN says any items dropped off outside of operational hours will be thrown away with regular garbage.

The Burns Lake Transfer Station will be open from Thursdays to Sundays, from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Southside Transfer Station will be open Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The Granisle Transfer Station will be open Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

In addition, the re-use sheds have reopened under new rules.

Children are no longer allowed to access the facilities. A RDBN staff report says that there is significant liability and challenges associated with allowing children on a worksite with heavy truck traffic. Pets are also not allowed at the re-use sheds.

Prohibited materials include mattresses, couches, items with safety certifications – car sets, booster seats, helmets -, broken items, hazardous materials – cleaning products, pesticides, medication, cosmetics -, as well as children’s cribs, cradles and strollers.

Clothing items will be accepted at the re-use sheds, provided that they are clean and in good reusable condition.

The RDBN had chosen to close all re-use sheds due to a number of troubling incidents directly affecting staff and public health and safety.

According to the RDBN, troubling incidents that took place at the re-use sheds include live ammunition found in a brown cassette tape brief case; prescription drugs left in a box; a dirty diaper found thrown in the corner of a re-use shed; and over 100 used hypodermic needles that were found in boxes mixed in with children’s toys. In addition, there were reports regarding members of the public urinating and defecating behind a re-use shed.

Public consultation meetings were held in October and November 2015 in nine different communities. According to the RDBN, the approximately 200 members of the public that attended the consultation meetings were “very passionate” about the re-use sheds and many expressed disappointment with the closure of the facilities.

The RDBN says work continues on determining potential opening times for the re-use sheds at the Vanderhoof and Fort St. James transfer stations as well as the Knockholt Landfill.