The Town of Qualicum Beach staff has recommended closing the current cardboard disposal bin on East Second Ave at the end of this year.
Director of Finance John Marsh informed council at its regular meeting on Sept. 8 that the service cost taxpayers $50,000 and that it only benefits a small portion of the community. The town, he pointed out, has been operating the service for 20 years but most businesses and residents do not use it, except for those near the bin.
“This issue of having only a small portion of the town using the service and yet all Qualicum Beach taxpayers having to pay for it, that same concept was one of the reasons why the town stopped collecting commercial and multi-family garbage,” said Marsh. “And for that reason, staff feel we should be doing the same with the cardboard bin and removing it.”
Marsh added, “$50,000 is a lot of money but I would also would remind council to take a little bit longer term vision of that $50,000. The $50,000 over 10 years becomes $500,000. This is a big number. Everyone likes to do things for the environment but I would argue that this isn’t an effective use of money for the environment when there’s alternatives.”
Coun. Robert Filmer presented another motion to direct staff to find a new permanent location of the cardboard disposal bin until a new option can be presented to council.
“I know that the cost of $50,000 is a lot to us, when we did our other changes to our waste pickup within the town core and removed some of our garbage bins, a lot of people were really upset,” said Filmer.
He does not agree with staff comment that “it’s not being used.”
“It’d be empty and it, for sure, is not empty because there’s cardboard sitting outside of it because the bin is so full,” he said. “I think we should find a new permanent location and leave it as is.”
Currently, the town solid waste services is being provided by the Regional District of Nanaimo and will be subject to its Solid Waste Management Plan that would focus on waste diversion and disposal activities.
Coun. Scott Harrison indicated that RDN’s solid waste staff will appear as a delegation to council on the Oct. 6 meeting. He suggested council defer any decision until they heard from the RDN.
“I suggest it might be good to have some hard questions for the RDN on this,” said Harrison. “I think we’re actually better served making this decision one way or the other after that delegation’s had a chance to speak and we’ve had a chance to speak to the people provide the service.”