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Owner of Parksville Bottle Depot says creation of a recycling facility should be a priority

Rai encourages residents to call elected officials to get project going
The owner of the Parksville Bottle Depot wants to build a state-of-the-art recycling facility. (Michael Briones photo)

The owner of the Parksville Bottle Depot wants residents to rally behind his plan to build a state-of-the-art recycling depot in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area.

The District 69 region has been without a recycling depot for three years that would accept glass, styrofoam and plastics. Major Rai said there is still no immediate solution to re-establish one.

“The enthusiasm for recycling in the community is unreal,” said Rai. “From the feedback and the comments from the local residents, we realized that they want their recycling for all the materials in the area.”

Rai has proposed to build a carbon-neutral new recycling facility on the huge vacant lot adjacent to the Parksville Bottle Depot.

“It’s very important for residents in Parksville Qualicum Beach and neighbouring communities,” said Rai.

“They know that an item is recyclable, but they don’t have the convenience of recycling it and are sometimes forced to throw them in the garbage. And every time they make that kind of decision, they should phone the mayor or councillor or elected officials and tell them, ‘when are you going to bring recycling back’ because it’s already been three years. ‘How much longer is it going to be?’”

Since the recycling depot was halted in 2019, residents must travel to the Nanaimo or Comox Valley recycling depots to dispose of their recyclables. And many, particularly senior citizens, find the drive to both depots to be a significant inconvenience.

Some are simply resigned to just adding their recyclables with their regular waste, which could go against the RDN’s Solid Waste Management Plan of 90 per cent diversion by 2029. The RDN’s manager of solid waste services, Ben Routledge, agreed the need to provide residents with easy access to recycling systems is “critical” in increasing waste diversion.

“The RDN is keenly aware of the gap in services caused by the end of Recycle BC services in the area,” said Routledge. “The RDN has been in continuous communication with Recycle BC, urging them to restore their services to the area. Further, the RDN board, recognizing the importance of restoring services, has sent numerous letters to Recycle BC and the province seeking a solution. However, it does remain up to the private sector to also engage with Recycle BC in order to see the service restored.”

READ MORE: Absence of PQB recycling options may impact RDN’s 90 per cent diversion goal

Recycle BC has indicated they are mandated to provide a depot within 45 minutes, which the Nanaimo and Comox Valley depots achieve.

“They have not provided any additional information or alternative solutions,” said Rai.

Parksville Mayor Doug O’Brien said they’re aware of Rai’s proposal and are aiming to work with the RDN to reach a solution for the Parksville Qualicum Beach area.

“The recycling structure is rather complex, with many stakeholders and funding providers which creates many challenges,” said O’Brien. “The good news is that we are moving forward.”

O’Brien said it’s still early to release any more information and he hopes things will develop more by February.

Rai indicated the current Parksville Bottle Depot is already operating at maximum capacity and will need to expand to accommodate more items in the future. Aside from bottles and cans, it also takes in items such as appliances, electronic, scrap metal, used oil, paint, cardboard and other electronics.

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Michael Briones

About the Author: Michael Briones

I rejoined the PQB News team in April 2017 from the Comox Valley Echo, having previously covered sports for The NEWS in 1997.
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