The suggestion from the regional district that the re-use sheds are archaic and in a poor state comes as no surprise. That something needs to change at our transfer stations is clear and I am glad to see that the regional district is planning to initiate a consultation process to make a decision about what will be done.
In their current state, our transfer stations are a prime example of a system that has evolved over time without meaningful input from the people who use and depend on it, and follows the well-worn path that all levels of government have used for the last few decades to offload responsibilities and expenses to those least able to object.
We have all seen many examples of facilities and systems underfunded and degraded until the government of the day can justify giving them away to private enterprise.
Saying we don’t need the re-use sheds because there are other ways people can recycle misses the point. Having a central location where people can dispose of unwanted items or rescue someone else’s contributes to our community in many ways. It helps foster an attitude of conservation and waste reduction.
What does it tell our children when they see how much we waste while the planet starts to burn? It helps support local businesses and charities by keeping valuable resources in our community. I bet the observations done by sustainability assistant Carolynn Lane did not include an analysis of how much money stays in our community because of the re-use shed and other salvage areas.
When you buy something new from Walmart or The Brick, you don’t need to buy anything locally to clean, repair, or refinish it.
If the re-use sheds and other salvage areas are not being used properly maybe it is the facility that should change to meet current needs. Every single person I know in Burns Lake uses the re-use shed here. We put things in that we don’t need, hoping to help someone else; and we retrieve useful items that may look like junk to others.
As for the abusive language and behaviour staff experience from the public, that can be stopped with the right actions by management and it can be done immediately.
Government offices, medical facilities, and other public services do not tolerate abuse toward their staff, and the regional district should not tolerate it at our transfer stations.
The excellent staff at our transfer station deserve to be treated with respect and management should support them in making sure they are.
I will be watching for the regional district’s consultation process and welcome an opportunity to participate in any effort to improve our recycling facilities because we can do better than closing them down and throwing away all the resources that end up there.