The Regional District of Nanaimo’s solid waste management select committee wants to explore the private sector to provide District 69 an accessible recycling depot.
At present, there is no Recycle BC depot in District 69. It’s been that way since the Parksville and Qualicum Beach Bottle and Recycling ended the service in March 2020.
Residents now have to travel 45 minutes one-way to Nanaimo, Courtenay and Port Alberni to get rid 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 not allowed in the RDN’s curbside collection service.
The current situation was deemed unacceptable by the RDN board, which wrote a letter to Recycle BC and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change asking for solutions. The board indicated in its letter the long drive is not reasonable despite Recycle BC’s position that the distance of the depots outside Parksville Qualicum Beach is within the province’s standard of 45-minute drive time for rural communities.
RDN staff, upon the direction of the board, looked at four temporary options until Recycle BC can come up with a permanent solution.
• Collecting Recycle BC materials at the Church Road Transfer Station;
• Sub-contract Recycle BC collection service with additional financial incentive;
• The RDN running a temporary collection facility in the Town of Qualicum Beach;
• Parksville Bottle Depot taking Recycle BC items;
Manager of solid waste services Larry Gardner indicated the RDN could operate at the Church Road facility but it will increase the cost of the annual operation by $247,000. Sub-contracting would cost less but poses the potential for other private depots to cease being a Recycle BC provider as the RDN would be expected to step in and provide additional incentives. As for creating a depot in Qualicum beach, Gardner said they reached out to the municipality and a local realtor to determine a possible locations. No sites were available and identified.
Exploring the Parksville Bottle Depot option was favoured by Qualicum Beach director Teunis Westbroek.
At the solid waste management select committee meeting on May 5 Westbroek recommended staff work with the Parksville and Qualicum Beach Chambers of Commerce; Parksville Mayor Ed Mayne or his office, and Town of Qualicum Beach Mayor Brian Wiese to pursue the private sector in providing the service of this recycling component, including the new owners of the Parksville and Qualicum Beach Bottle and Recycling Depot.
The committee unanimously passed the motion to recommend it to the RDN board for approval.