Councillor wants arena recycling bins removed

The Strathcona Gardens depot costs $68,000 a year to operate and collects roughly 366 tonnes of garbage annually

Recycling bins at Strathcona Gardens are slated for closure this fall – three years after the depot was first put on the chopping block.

Coun. Larry Samson, at the June 22 council meeting, served notice that at the July 6 meeting he will address the issue.

“My motion will address that Campbell River look into the future as to what it wants to see for recycling depots and what we should be working towards and not let it be dictated by a solid waste committee from the Comox Valley,” Samson said.

The Comox Strathcona Solid Waste board, which is made up of directors from both the Strathcona and the Comox Valley regional districts, wants to close the Strathcona Gardens recycling centre this fall.

Jesse Lee, manager of Comox Strathcona Waste Management operations, said the greatest challenge in operating the depot is abuse by the public.

“The most significant challenge in operating these non-MMBC (Multi-Material BC) depots is misuse by the public,” Lee said. “Garbage is routinely dropped off at the depots, including hazardous waste, furniture and household refuse. The abuse contributes to higher costs and neighbourhood complaints as a result of depot condition. Unfortunately, residents use these depots as transfer stations and routinely drop off waste and other inappropriate materials. Approximately $36,000 per year is incurred cleaning up garbage left by the public.”

The Strathcona Gardens depot costs $68,000 a year to operate and collects roughly 366 tonnes of garbage annually.

But Lee said that with the City of Campbell River planning to implement curbside recycling pick up for multi-family complexes, nearly all Campbell River residents would have access to recycling pick up from their home.

“With the implementation of additional curb-side recycling in the Campbell River area, there is no longer a need for the Strathcona depot,” Lee said.

This is not the first time the Strathcona bins have been on the chopping block.

The bins, which are not approved by MMBC, which finances recycling collection across B.C., were first slated for closure in 2012.

At that time, the Strathcona Regional District wanted them removed because of a lack of staff at Strathcona Gardens to keep the depot safe and tidy.

Then in May, 2013 the Comox Strathcona Solid Waste committee drew up a licensing agreement to keep the bins. The agreement stated that the Comox Valley Regional District, which operates the solid waste function, would be responsible for keeping the depot clean, and that improved lighting, proper signage, curb and pavement repairs, new fencing, and a 24-hour security monitoring system would be provided. The regional district would also pay $500 per month to rent the space.

However, though the Strathcona Gardens Commission – which makes decisions for Strathcona Gardens – approved that agreement in June of 2013, the Comox Strathcona Solid Waste board refused to accept the agreement in November, 2013.

The two parties instead entered into an interim agreement to keep the recycling bins at the Gardens operating under the original conditions until the end of 2014.

At the Comox Strathcona Solid Waste board meeting on June 11, the board chose to hold off until Sept. 17 to make any decisions regarding the Strathcona Gardens and the Sportsplex bins.