The new owner of Parksville Bottle and Recycling Centre, Major Rai, wants to build a state-of-the-art recycling depot in District 69.
Since the only recycling depot in the region closed two years ago, residents in Parksville Qualicum Beach and surrounding areas have had no other choice but to travel to Nanaimo, Courtenay or Port Alberni to dispose of plastic bags and over-wrap, other flexible plastic packaging such as crinkly wrappers, stand up pouches and zipper bags, foam packaging and glass, all of which the Regional District of Nanaimo’s curbside collection service do not accept.
Rai is looking at purchasing a huge property adjacent to the Parksville Bottle and Recycling Depot, near the train tracks and a Fortis BC facility.
“It’s about 20 acres,” said Rai. “It’s a massive chunk of land where we plan to build a nice recycling centre, a full facility. It will be carbon-neutral state-of-the-art. The best in the country. Parksville Qualicum Beach area hasn’t had a service at all so we want to bring it back better than ever.”
Rai said the current bottle recycling depot location is already operating at capacity and is not able to accommodate and accept more recyclable items.
“This was built 25 years ago and the amount of population that has grown in the area, we can’t even facilitate the bottle recycling anymore,” said Rai. “There’s not enough space and the parking lot is always full. People have to stand up in line. No way we can do it there.”
But building the recycling depot would be easier said than done. Rai said it will undergo a stringent process that include rezoning, approval from different municipal governments, the RDN, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Island Corridor Foundation, and Fortis BC. The process might take three to four years.
“All these public services need to understand that this service needs to be provided and that the public wants it,” said Rai. “When the general public says ‘hey we demand this service to be provided for us. This is an option for us, we want it to go through faster.’ If the public demands it, it should be prioritized.”
Rai said with the municipal elections coming up, the general public has an opportunity to push and encourage recycling to be brought back to the area. He encouraged voters to ask candidates who are in favour of promoting and finding a way to get a recycling depot re-established in the region.
“The biggest thing is, in the last two years, there’s a lot of people who want to recycle but they don’t want to always go to Nanaimo or all the way to Courtenay,” said Rai. “It’s like a hundred kilometres round-trip. That’s their only option or they’re just going to throw it in the garbage, which is the easiest way for them to solve the problem. But it’s terrible for the environment. It’s the last thing anyone wants to see happen.”
Due to the municipal elections, Rai said, they have to wait until new council or set of elected officers are in place before he can submit his application for rezoning and other requirements.
Rai also indicated that Recycling BC has seen the proposed site and are in favour.