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Letter: Concern grows over the woefully inadequate access to recycling

To The Editor:

We, the undersigned residents (including some businesses) of the Village of Kaslo and of the adjacent surrounding Electoral Area "D" of the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK), some of whom met at the United Church Hall in Kaslo on December 1st, 2015, are concerned over the woefully inadequate access to recycling following the removal of the RDCK recycling depot from the Village of Kaslo public works yard to a location over three kilometres outside Village of Kaslo limits, away from Highway 31, with restricted hours, and which is completely inaccessible to residents such as seniors and those who have no vehicle.

We are extremely unhappy with the situation as it stands in that our access to an adequate and comprehensive recycling program has been effectively cut off, and we do not have the same access available as do other Regional District residents and taxpayers, such as, for example, those using the RDCK's Kokanee Park Marina depot in Area E and/or the facilities in the Village of New Denver.   

We specifically ask that the RDCK recycling depot be returned to within the Village of Kaslo limits so that residents, institutional, commercial and industrial taxpayers of both the Village of Kaslo and adjacent electoral area "D", can be given the same access to a recycling program that other residents of the province, particularly in the Lower Mainland, can access.

We respectfully ask the BC Minister of Environment, Multi-Materials BC, and our respective local governments, namely the Village of Kaslo and Regional District Central Kootenay, how much longer we are going to have to wait to access, as a community, the entirety of the "packaging and printed paper product" recycling program, and how we are going to achieve a 75% recovery rate for the mandated program (Environment Management Act, Recycling Regulation, 3(1)(a)(i) and 5(1)(a)(i)) given that the current two local recycling programs propose to exclude institutional, commercial and industrial (ICI) recyclers from this rural and remote part of British Columbia, and given that the MMBC Viillage curbside collection service does not collect glass, styrofoam and film plastic.

We observe that section 11(4) on the collection of recyclable materials specifically states that:

(4) A producer (presumably its agent MMBC) must make its collection facility

  •  (a)available without charge to any consumer who wishes to return unlimited quantities of products within the product categories it sells, offers for sale, distributes or uses in a commercial enterprise, and
  • (b) operate during regular business hours, 5 days per week, one day of which must be Saturday. [am. B.C. Reg. 88/2011, Sch. s. 10.]

Currently MMBC has no collection facilities and/or contract to collect their mandated recyclables in Electoral Area D, and while it has a curbside contract with the Village of Kaslo this is only available once every fourteen days and does not include glass, styrofoam and plastic film. In fact the nearest depots where all of the mandated materials can be recycled are described by MMBC on their website as being at the Cranbrook Bottle Depot, at least some three and a half hours away by ferry and road, and the Trout Lake Transfer Station, which is two hours away in summer driving conditions on a gravel road, and only open Sunday Noon to 4.00 PM.

We further observe that under the current regulation the director may approve the plan if the director is satisfied that:

  •  reasonable and free consumer access to collection facilities (Ibid, 5(1)(c)(iii)

Again we specifically want to ask the Minister, MMBC, the Village of Kaslo and Regional District Central Kootenay how shutting down the previous RDCK recycling depot in the Village of Kaslo public works yard and moving the depot at least six kilometres, return, outside Village of Kaslo limits and away from Highway 31, with restricted hours, constitutes reasonable and free consumer access to collection facilities? This location is particularly difficult to access by local businesses, seniors in winter and by those who have no vehicle.

Next we wish to observe to the Minister that MMBC, whom we assume is acting as the agent for the various producers of packaging and printed paper, has thus far failed to comply with the requirement that:

A producer must provide to each retailer of producer's product, free of charge, consumer information respecting...the amount of any fee associated with the producer's product stewardship program that is charged by the producer and identified separarately on the consumer's receipt of sale (Ibid, 10(1)(c).

Again, what we observe is that MMBC is collecting a fee, of an unknown dollar amount to us, from various producers of packaging and printed paper to pick up materials being used in the distribution of goods and services to the ICI sector in our community.

However we, as taxpayers and residential and/or ICI consumers of these materials, cannot recycle these materials because MMBC refuses to sign and implement a comprehensive collection agreement with the Regional District Central Kootenay and does not even have a comprehensive contract to collect all of the mandated materials with the Village of Kaslo either.

In addition to paying for the MMBC recycling fee through the price of the goods and services that we are purchasing, we are then being taxed by both the Regional District Central Kootenay and Village of Kaslo for waste removal and recycling for these same materials, and since October 19th, 2015, our ability to recycle this material has been made even harder and even more restrictive by the removal of the RDCK's depot from the Village of Kaslo public works yard.

In conclusion we observe that none of the programs, as they are currently being offered, are comprehensive, effective or financially efficient for our community, and yet the cost to us as consumers and taxpayers has not decreased.

Further, when we ask to meet with our local governments, by petition and in person, so that we can discuss this situation as an entire community, we have, thus far, been refused that right to meet as a community.

We understand that the Village of Kaslo and the RDCK will meet with some businesses on December 17th, via a meeting organized by the Kaslo and Area Chamber of Commerce.

While we acknowledge that this is a step forward, we do not believe that this meeting adequately addresses our original request to have a public meeting at the November 5, 2015, RDCK Central Resource Recovery Committee meeting that was petitioned for by some 241 residents and taxpayers.  

All of which is respectfully submitted

Andy Shadrack and Gail Bauman, Kaslo
David Stewart, Kaslo
Lance McLaren, Fletcher Creek
Mary Stickle, Kaslo
Kate 0'Keefe and Harvey Armstrong, Johnson's Landing
John Eckland, Kaslo
Marrianne and Allan Hobden, Woodbury Village
Arnie and Judy Reinikka, Zwicky Road electoral area "D"
Val Koenig, Kaslo
Phil Trotter, Kaslo
Lorna Lynch Kaslo Shipyard
Patricia and Kenneth Clapp, North Shore
Art Mason, Mirror Lake
Angele and Richard Ortega, Johnson's Landing
Woodbury Resort and Marina
Karen Pidcock, Kaslo
Mark Mealing, Meadow Creek
Ruth Thompson, Fletcher Creek