Recycle BC organized a series of popup recycling depots during summer at St. Columba Presbyterian church which Parksville Qualicum Beach residents took advantage of. (Michael Briones photo)

Recycle BC organized a series of popup recycling depots during summer at St. Columba Presbyterian church which Parksville Qualicum Beach residents took advantage of. (Michael Briones photo)

Parksville Qualicum Beach residents still left without own recycling depot

Minister says full-time solution still being sought

Parksville Qualicum Beach will not get a recycling depot in the near future.

That message was relayed by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, George Heyman, in a letter to the Regional District of Nanaimo.

“I recognize that these depot closures present an inconvenience to the affected communities, and so I am pleased with the innovative solution that Recycle BC has put forward with the introduction of five ‘pop-up’ recycling depot events planned for this summer,” said Heyman, responding to the RDN’s inquiry regarding the lack of recycling services provided by Recycle BC in the District 69 region. “This will, as you note, help alleviate the need for residents to store their recyclables until a trip to a neighbouring recycling facility is warranted. This is, however, a temporary solution.”

During the summer months, Parksville Qualicum Beach residents took advantage of the pop-up recycling depot events. But now, residents must travel to Nanaimo or Courtenay to dispose of their recyclables. They have been doing this since the Parksville and Qualicum Beach Bottle Depots refrained from accepting residential recycling on behalf of Recycle BC on March 1, 2020.

“Recycle BC has assured the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy that they are working diligently to find a permanent solution in this area; but have, so far, been unsuccessful entering into an agreement with any service providers,” Heyman stated in his letter.

READ MORE: RDN seeks temporary solution to provide recycling facilities in Parksville Qualicum Beach

As a way to attract a service provider, Recycle BC in June 2020 proposed incentive increases. Heyman said the ministry is actively reviewing the cost study process and outcomes against the regulatory requirements but no decision has been reached so far.

“When the ministry is confident that Recycle BC’s basis for compensation is justifiable, Recycle BC will be in a position to implement the incentive rate increases,” said Heyman.

There have been complaints raised by residents that due to the large amount of recyclables that they’ve stored to minimize travel to Nanaimo or Courtenay for disposal, they have been turned away at the depot.

“The solution we’ve been told was to take it to Nanaimo (Regional Recycling) so we dutifully collected it all and made a trip to Nanaimo,” said a resident. “On our arrival we were told that only ‘residential amounts would be taken and the rest should go into the garbage or come back another day.’ Apparently, four big bags collected over three months is too much. We don’t make weekly trips to Nanaimo — usually it’s every other month or so and sometimes not even that during COVID-19.”

Heyman said they’ve addressed this concern to Recycle BC.

“The ministry has been assured that neighbouring depots have been directed by Recycle BC to provide leniency regarding evaluation of larger than usual residential quantities being brought for dropoff,” said Heyman. “The ministry will also continue to work with Recycle BC to find a permanent solution to this issue.”

The RDN Solid Waste Management Select Committee received Heyman’s letter for information and said they will continue to press the ministry for a solution.

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

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