Some residents in Parksville Qualicum Beach have resorted to throwing recyclable materials in the garbage instead of driving to collection centres in Nanaimo and Courtenay.
Since the Parksville Bottle Depot ceased to collect items on behalf of Recycling BC (on March 1, 2020) including Styrofoam, recycling glass and plastics, residents have been waiting for a new location or facility to be established.
Their frustrations were expressed on the Regional District of Nanaimo’s Get Involved page online and included in a report at the solid waste management select committee meeting on March 2.
“I estimate half of my garbage bin is plastic wrappers, glass, and Styrofoam which is all going into the landfill,” one resident commented.
Another indicated the RDN could have addressed the situation by accepting the materials at the Church Road Transfer Station.
“However Recycle BC is charged with the responsibly of providing this service for free so they chose not to partner with the RDN. We do know that Recycle BC is working hard to find a replacement service. Unfortunately, the province’s standard for depot accessibility is a 45-minute drive time to (a) depot. We do not believe the 45-minute travel time is a reasonable benchmark and we believe that residents should be able to recycle items in the same communities that they purchase them.”
Qualicum Beach director Teunis Westbroek highlighted the residents’ concerns and agrees something has to be done.
Westbroek made a successful motion to direct staff to prepare a memorandum for the upcoming RDN board meeting that includes an update on the status of the request to the Ministry of Environment and Recycle BC for service standards, in particular those relating to recycling glass, Styrofoam and plastic.
Area E (Nanoose) director Bob Rogers and Area H (Bowser, Qualicum Bay, Deep Bay) director Stuart McLean endorsed Westbroek’s motion.
Rogers indicated that during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s not a good idea to encourage residents to drive 45 minutes one way to access a recycling depot. He added it’s time to get the government to start dealing with the dilemma.
“We need to make something happen here,” said McLean. “It’s been months and months. Director Westbroek mentioned people, they’re starting to throw these stuff away because they don’t have the time and I guess the motivation to drive to Nanaimo or Courtenay to get rid of it. So I hope we can make it happen.”
The chair of the solid waste management select committee, Ben Geselbracht, calls the situation “unacceptable.”
“The level of services as it currently stands, something needs to move and so I think an update to the board is excellent and I think it will be well timed with the media all around these, and then we’ll look at what our options for the next steps.”