The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) will investigate potential funding sources to help the pop-up recycling depot services in Parksville Qualicum Beach.
The Parksville Community Centre Society (PCCS) has been operating the services in partnership with Recycle BC from May to December this year at the Parksville Industrial Centre. The group’s contract with Recycle BC will end on Dec. 9 but the society wants to continue providing the services.
The PCCS has applied to the RDN’s Zero Waste Recycling Funding, which is made available for innovative programs in the regional district that increase diversion through the development of a circular economy.
The society has requested $30,000 to establish a permanent facility and expand their services to make it more accessible and affordable for residents in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area.
Currently, there is no permanent recycling depot in District 69 and without the pop-up recycling depot, residents are forced to travel to collection centres in Nanaimo or Courtenay to dispose off recyclable materials not included in the RDN curbside collection or are left with no choice but to include them with their regular garbage.
The PCCS application, however, was rejected and deemed ineligible. Solid Waste Planner Sonam Bajwa said the products collected currently at the pop-up depot are already included and fully covered in the EPR program stewarded by Recycle BC. As well, the society’s application was intended for 2023 and Bajwa indicated the this grant is meant to support operations of programs in 2024.
Electoral Area G (French Creek, San Pareil, Little Qualicum, Englishman River) director Lehann Wallace pointed out the society’s rationale to apply for funding should have been clarified by staff particularly the significant volunteer work that is being spent on handling the huge volume of recyclables being brought to the temporary depot.
Wallace made a motion to transfer the $16,500 funds approved for the Victoria-base Synergy Foundation to the PCCS for volunteer support. She indicated there was lack of understanding of what the PCCS actually require.
”There are so many recycled materials that are dropped off at these pop-ups from all of the pentup demand for recycling in Oceanside not having any other place to take these things that they literally need more space so the volunteers are not standing out in the rain and that the materials are not sheltered as they’re being processed,” Wallace explained.
Wallace is also disappointed some of the grants are being awarded to groups that not are not local and should have been awarded to groups such as the PCCS.
Qualicum Beach director Anne Skipsey echoed the Wallace’s sentiments.
“This organization has provided a much needed service and even if this is an EPR program, certainly there isn’t any other opportunities in our are,” said Skipsey, who also added she would be disappointed if there will not be any support for the amazing work the volunteers are doing.
Manager of Solid Waste Management Ben Routledge indicated they will need to confer with their legal counsel if they could transfer funds already approved to Synergy to the PCCS. He also confirmed that the PCCS application is ineligible as they are associated with Recycle BC.
Wallace’s motion did not pass.
But the committee did approved a motion that staff provide a report on potential funding options for the PCCS recycling depot service.