One of the sites CSWM is considering closing is beside Courtenay Country Market. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Comox Strathcona Waste Management looks at closing unstaffed depots

Amount of recycling material tainted seen as much bigger problem at these sites

The regional body that oversees waste management for the Comox Valley and Strathcona regional districts is considering getting rid of four unsupervised recycling depots.

At the latest Comox Strathcona Waste Management board meeting on Nov. 14, directors passed several motions concerning bins, largely because of improperly discarded waste. The initial recommendation was to close all four over the next two years. However, the board is treating the regions separately.

The recycling system through the service areas is broken into several Recycle BC operations that accept a wide range of materials. There are also a half dozen CSWM recycling depots, including the four in question. These sites do not accept glass, plastic bags or outer wrap or foam packaging, according to the CSWM website.

CSWM will take a phased approach for two in Campbell River. The bins at Strathcona Gardens will go next year, with the Sportsplex binds to disappear in 2021. The City of Campbell River, itself, has curbside service, and CSWM staff point out even things like large pieces of cardboard can be cut up and left at the curb rather than dropped off at the bins. Andy Adams, Campbell River’s mayor and one of its CSWM representatives, made the motion for the closures of the two sites in his community.

In the Comox Valley, the two sites in question are by the Canex Store near 19 Wing Comox and the Courtenay Country Market on Highway 19A.

Edwin Grieve, who represents Area C on the CVRD, introduced a motion for the Comox Valley sites, specifically for Country Market’s site to be closed in 2020 and Canex in 2021. He also said the electoral areas need to consider roadside recycling services for electoral areas. Last time, electors rejected the idea during a referendum as a “tax grab” by the regional district.

“We have to grow up here,” he said.

For now however, the board decided to defer the matter of closure for the Comox Valley sites until the next meeting in January to allow staff to prepare a report.

The issue surrounds how much more material becomes tainted at unstaffed sites. Marc Rutten, the Comox Valley Regional District’s general manager of engineering services, estimates it at around 18 per cent versus 3.5 per cent at the staffed facilities. One of the worst substances is yard waste that is deposited in the recycling stream rather than composted.

To mitigate this mess – in other words, clean up sites – staff estimates it would cost at least $240,000, or even as much as $497,000 if they were to be fully staffed. In contrast, closing the sites would save an estimated $215,000, they say.

“The status quo is really not something that is sustainable,” Rutten said of the unstaffed depots. “They’re not reflective of our standards and values.”

Not everyone supported the idea. Brenda Leigh, Area D director for the Strathcona Regional District, predicted closing depots would result in more people throwing out recyclables with garbage or by illegal dumping. She also questioned how much this material would take up in landfill space and she asked for a transition plan.

“I just don’t think we’ve tried hard enough to keep these depots open,” she said.

RELATED STORY: Comox-Strathcona’s illegal dumping program showing progress

RELATED STORY: Plenty more waste in Comox Valley and Campbell River landfills could be diverted – audit

Alex Bissinger, one of the Comox representatives, wondered about the need for more categorization at these bins. The bins are single-stream, meaning people can deposit any of the accepted materials in them.

“The whole single-stream system seems like a free-for-all,” she said.

Martin Davis, the mayor and representative of Tahsis, suggested measures such as video monitoring to identify offenders leaving unaccepted items in the bins as a way to tackle the problem.

Beyond the question of the four sites outside the Recycle BC system, the board passed motions for CSWM to look at converting its depots for Quadra Island and Oyster River into Recycle BC depots after discussions with the electoral area directors. As well, staff will be submitting an application to Recycle BC for a depot at the south end of Campbell River that could serve nearby residents outside city limits.

(This story has been edited to reflect a correction to Marc Rutten’s position.)



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

One of the sites CSWM is considering closing is beside Courtenay Country Market. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Just Posted

Robbie Burns Day will be celebrated a little differently this year, but celebrated it will be as the Tidemark Theatre presents a live virtual celebration that will be available for ticketholders to view for three days. Black Press File Photo
Tidemark Theatre presents Burns Night 2021: The Bard & His Ballads

A tale of whisky and haggis, and of how Robbie Burns would emerge as a champion for the common man

Everett Bumstead (centre) and his crew share a picture from a tree planting location in Sayward on Vancouver Island from when they were filming for ‘One Million Trees’ last year. Photo courtesy, Everett Bumstead.
The tree planting life on Vancouver Island features in new documentary

Everett Bumstead brings forth the technicalities, psychology and politics of the tree planting industry in his movie

Bill Reekie and his then-four-year-old granddaughter Lily. Photo contributed
Alzheimer’s – the Unplanned Journey

By Jocelyn Reekie Special to the Mirror “January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month… Continue reading

The Kwiakah First Nation is looking to lease some Crown land at the old Campbell River Gun Range to create a community garden for its members and a series of greenhouses to sell produce to cover operational costs. Black Press File Photo
Kwiakah First Nation looks to open farm at old Campbell River gun range

City defers decision on allowing it until they can consult with other local First Nations

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Williams Lake physician Dr. Ivan Scrooby and medical graduate student Vionarica Gusti hold up the COSMIC Bubble Helmet. Both are part of the non-profit organization COSMIC Medical which has come together to develop devices for treating patients with COVID-19. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Group of B.C. doctors, engineers developing ‘bubble helmet’ for COVID-19 patients

The helmet could support several patients at once, says the group

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

Most Read