Today’s Poll

Noxious weeds and scavenging at the dump

Timothy Schafer
By Timothy Schafer
May 16th, 2011

For those about to pull (noxious weeds), the regional district salutes you; noxious weeds will now be accepted free of charge at all regional district dumps.

Listed under controlled waste, many of the weeds that are listed as “noxious” are pulled and brought in to waste transfer stations by volunteers in an effort to reduce or eliminate their presence in the Regional District of Central Kootenay.

Before the change was made recently by the RDCK board of directors to the Solid Waste Management Facilities Regulatory Bylaw, the transfer stations would charge people $65 per tonne for any material deemed yard waste.

Waiving the fee for disposing of noxious weeds supports and encourages people in their work of eliminating the weeds, said Area C director Larry Binks.

“So we wanted this to pass so that they could begin bringing in noxious weeds … through the volunteer program,” he said.

And the weeds do come in by the truckload, said Silverton municipal director Carol Bell.

“They are on a truck because volunteers have gone out and done this themselves because there is no government money to do it.”

Noxious weeds include annual sowthistle, blueweed, Canada thistle, common tansy, crupina, dalmation toadflax, diffuse knapweed, dodder, gorse, hound’s tingue, jointed goat-grass, leafy spurge, orange hawkweed, perennial sowthistle and plumeless thistle.

As well, they will also accept purple nutsedge, rush skeletonweed, scentless chamomile, spotted knapweed, tansy ragwort, velvetleaf, wild oats, yellow nutsedge, yellow starthistle and yellow toadflax.

The question of regional district staff now having to identify noxious weeds was raised by board chair and Area B director John Kettle. He asked how staff will differentiate between noxious weeds and regular yard waste.

“I think this is going to backfire on us,” he said.

But Kettle concerns were overruled as the board felt it was inappropriate for the regional district to charge people that provide community volunteer work.

Noxious weeds must be bagged and are accepted for disposal only.

Scavenging at the transfer sites

The regional district’s Joint Resources Recovery committee is considering drafting policy around scavenging at the various transfer stations, and it could affect the “free store” at each transfer site.

The problem is dumpster diving. It isn’t like in the “old days” where everything was thrown on a big pile. Now it is deposited into dumpsters for burial.

Scavenging has led to major liability and possible injury issues and the RDCK is concerned, said board vice chair Hillary Elliott, the director for Slocan. People could cut themselves on glass or scrap metal and then the regional district could be held liable, she said.

In addition, some transfer sites have large machinery working and that is a concern for safety, Elliott added.

“However, we do know there is value in the free store in allowing people to reuse and recycle things that would otherwise go into the dump,” she said. “It’s not a simple answer.”

The committee will be balancing public safety, regional district interests and liability, all with an eye to keeping as much out of the dump as possible.

Area H director Walter Popoff wanted to encourage the free store but discourage the dumpster diving.

“If we can do that without causing any liabilities or additional taxation, I’m all for it,” he said.!/TheNelsonDaily


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