City asks for a ‘refund’ of its share of regional recycling costs
The city has been paying for a regional district recycling service that it has largely not been using for nearly five years and now it is asking for some of its money back.
Mayor Deb Kozak has written a letter to the Regional District of Central Kootenay board of directors — dated May 28 — detailing how the city has been shelling out around $170,000 per year too much to fund the service.
Instead, the city has been operating its own curbside recycling collection program for several years, initially funded by city taxpayers and since 2013 through a contract with RecycleBC.
In addition the city has allowed a regional district recycling depot to be located at the Nelson transfer station without a fee for the lease of the land.
However, the regional district chose to not participate in the RecycleBC when it first started — although it is still considering joining — and that decision has incurred costs to operate all of the current depots in the district, including the one in Nelson.
It is a cost which the city must contribute to as a member of the Central Resource Recovery service, but it is unnecessary, said the mayor.
“While council is supportive of the goals of the board to provide these services to the outlying areas, as the largest funder council is not in a position to operate both its own curbside program and pay for a rural program,” Kozak wrote in her letter.
City council has asked the regional district for a breakdown of the costs for the service, “but this has not been provided except the estimated cost to operate a RecycleBC depot in Nelson.”
The value of the transfer station land is equivalent to the cost of the recycling services the district provides, according to the city.
Two resolutions were passed to reflect the city’s willingness to allow the Lakeside Drive location to be used in the interim until a permanent location for the transfer station is identified:
- that the city agrees to pay the trucking costs to ship recycling from the city’s blue bag program from Grohman Narrows to the processing facility in Castlegar, while the regional district covers the cost to process the commercial and sundry residential recycling material in exchange for the city allowing a recycling depot to be located at the Lakeside Drive location at no cost; and
- that city council asks the regional district to return any surplus funds from the recycling program to the city, and that the city would place the money into a reserve to be used for the city’s recycling program.
Kozak noted that city needed to replace its garbage/recycling truck next year, and it will need to implement a new collection system when RecycleBC phases out blue bags.
The regional board directed RDCK staff to prepare a report to address the letter from the City of Nelson regarding the Central Resource Recovery, one which is expected to be released the next board meeting the third week of July.
Making change for the climate
The city is looking to add another staff member to help deal with climate change.
Through a Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Climate Change Staff
Grant the city is looking to launch specific municipal initiatives focused on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction or climate change adaptation through the creation of another staff position.
Over the past few years, the City has been impacted by various weather events resulting from climate change, noted a city staff report.
“Although the city has undertaken actions to address climate change organizationally (corporate GHG reduction plan), the plan has not been extended to the community due to a lack of available staff resources,” read the report.
The funding provided through FCM would enable the city to hire staff to develop a plan that would encompass the community in preparation for what would become the new normal (with respect to climate change).
The grant would provide funding up to 80 per cent of a staff person’s salary to a maximum of $125,000, while the remaining 20 per cent ($31,250) would be funded through the Development Services operational budget for 2018 with the remainder to be considered in the 2019 budget process.
If the grant application were successful, the city would then develop a Climate Change Adaptation Plan that would include specific tasks, who will accomplish them and when they will be implemented, estimated costs and an implementation and monitoring strategy. The new municipal employee would work on initiatives to improve adaptation to local climate change impacts or reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.