The Town of Qualicum Beach will no longer pay for collection of recycling from multi-family properties as of April 30.
That means multi-family properties will have to find their own way of collecting recyclable materials, as well as food waste.
The town’s director of finance, John Marsh, said the program is not a good one as not all multi-family units are involved.
“It’s a heavily subsidized program,” said Marsh. “We’re charging like $2 a month when the actual cost is more like $8 or getting closer to $8 a month when you count on the anticipated increases. Which means the taxpayer is subsidizing this.”
Marsh said the town is not into solid waste businesses as currently garbage, food waste and recycling collection is provided by the Regional District of Nanaimo. He pointed out when the program was introduced 10 years ago it was intended to be temporary until the RDN established a program for multi-family properties. But that hasn’t happened.
“Staff are recommending we get out of that business and not be involved,” said Marsh. “About a year ago when we got out of the garbage, we probably should have dealt with it at that point on the multi-family like in hindsight. But we didn’t.”
Council endorsed the recommendation and has instructed staff to give notice to multi-family properties that the town would no longer be providing contracted services for the collection of recycling.
Marsh said in order to give multi-family properties ample time to make the adjustments, they are given until April 30, 2021 to come up with their own collection of recycling. All billings from the town for the services will cease on that date.
Coun. Teunis Westbroek recommended staff look into requiring developers for future multi-family properties to provide an ideal location that would make it easier for collectors to pick up garbage, food waste and recyclables, and for residents to drop them off.
“It’s about convenience,” said Westbroek. “If it’s convenient, they will participate and if it’s not, they won’t.”
Westbroek said they need to work on getting multi-family properties on board if they are to meet the RDN’s zero waste objective.
“We really need to capture that share of the market,” said Westbroek. “Without that we will never reach the goal, that is a pretty audacious goal from the RDN that I support, to go to zero waste, which will take a long time. But one of the things we need to do is to include multi-family facilities.”
Director of planning Luke Sales said they are willing to look into it and have council open it up for discussion in the future.