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Household hazardous waste facility given reprieve until permanent location found

Timothy Schafer
By Timothy Schafer
November 16th, 2020

Three more years is all the time that the city’s household hazardous waste facility could buy at its current location, but the door is open for a possible move.

But it will be without the city’s help, despite a recommendation from staff to aide in the search for a new site for the facility, now located in the front of the Nelson Leafs’ Recycling Centre in Railtown.

Municipal administration suggested “working collaboratively over the next three years to develop a suitable option for a long-term, more appropriate location that satisfies all parties, whether within city limits or not,” in its report to council on the matter.

However, Coun. Keith Page wondered why council and the city should support a private enterprise find a new location for its business.

He recognized that the service of hazardous waste collection was only provided by one entity, but he felt the city and council should be removed from the equation.

City manager Kevin Cormack said the city’s role was all about site and zoning, and would extend such an agreement to any non-profit organization.

“Out role is not to make this a viable or unviable business, our interest is about the site and the zoning,” he said. “We are interested in the site.”

He suggested the proponent and the regional district — who takes responsible for the material — work together to find a suitable site.

The amendment to the motion passed in council.

The proposal from the Leafs for the household hazardous waste facility required a bylaw exemption from the City of Nelson as the Zoning Bylaw prohibits recycling facilities in the front yard.

For aesthetic reasons, good urban design principals encourage recycling facilities be located in the rear yard or in a discrete location, noted a city staff report.

“At this time, due to the existing site configuration, the only available space to locate the hazardous household waste facilities is in the front yard,” the report read.

The 2018 bylaw exemption allowed council and administration the opportunity to review the facility a year after the operation was functional to determine if the concerns noted in the previous reports have been realized.

Hazardous history

Two years ago the society applied to manage the household hazardous waste program for Nelson and the surrounding area “to allow year-round collection, storage, and handling of household hazardous waste.”

That same year the society applied to install two specially modified shipping containers at the Bottle Depot to facilitate the collection and disposition of household hazardous waste.

The move required a bylaw exemption as the Zoning Bylaw prohibited recycling facilities in the location.

Last year the society presented a flood mitigation strategy to council and it was approved, meaning two containers were installed at the centre in order to collect hazardous material — then shipped out by Kelowna-based contractor Terrapure.

“This development is significant because previously the only way to recycle these types of materials was during the RDCK’s annual one-day roundup,” noted a city staff report to council.

Re-assessing the hazards

The one-year exemption was assessed and the Leafs adequately addressed the concerns noted in previous reports made by city staff.

“Further, the Nelson Leafs’ household hazardous waste collection facilities provide a convenient and responsible means of disposal for our residents, which safeguards our local environment,” the report explained.

“If not managed and disposed of properly, household hazardous waste can have widespread environmental impacts.”

Regarding the flood risk, all Building Code and other relevant regulations and statutes were followed in approving the building permit for the hazardous household waste.

A qualified geotechnical engineer supplied a flood assurance statement prior to installation.

Lastly, the professional engineer specifically stated that “the land may be used safely for the use intended.” 

Rates on the rise

The rates for using the city’s parkade are on the rise, despite an attempt to encourage people who park in the downtown for an extended period of time make use of the facility.

In order to ensure the parkade is “adequately recovering its operating costs” the daily parking rates are increasing by 37 per cent — from $5 to $8 — and the 24-hour parking rate by 33 per cent ($8 to $12).

Additionally, the monthly rate for parking will rise to $100 as a flat rate regardless of what floor the parking is on. Previous monthly rates ranged from $50 per month to $80 per month, depending on the floor level.

The additional revenue was expected to “allow the parkade to adequately recover its operating expenses and potentially build reserves for future improvements,” noted a city staff report to council.

Public notification of the bylaw amendment was not required, but the city’s parkade manager will begin advertising and charging the new rates.

— Schafer

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