OUR VIEW: Compost Education Centre worth keeping

We say: It was also a rare episode of cooperation between city and rural regional district directors

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Strathcona regional directors found a way to keep the Campbell River Compost Education Centre alive.

The Comox Strathcona Waste Management board voted last week to keep the centre open after Comox Valley Regional District staff, which provides direction to the solid waste board, had recommended last fall that the board close both compost education centres in the Comox Valley and Campbell River to save $137,227 in 2014. But it took some effort on the part of Strathcona Regional District directors to keep the Campbell River centre open. The SRD directors saw how popular and valuable the Compost Education Centre is in the Campbell River area and worked towards a compromise that would keep it open. The Comox Valley directors on the regional waste management board did not have any interest in keeping either their centre open or Campbell River’s. And because the Valley directors carried the vote, it didn’t look good for the centres. It took a $20,000 contribution by SRD Area D director Brenda Leigh to make approving the total $42,700 cost of the Campbell River centre palatable to Comox Valley directors. Leigh pointed out the cost of keeping the Campbell River centre open would not add more than a penny to overall taxes and so she nudged the vote in the right direction with money coming from Area D’s budget for a compost centre in Maple Park. Leigh recognized the Campbell River centre serves the whole region and that Area D’s contribution won’t impact the Maple Community Gardens project slated to go ahead this spring. So, kudos to Leigh for making it happen.

A sidebar to this is this is the issue that forced the removal of Campbell River Mayor Walter Jakeway off as a regional district representative because city councillors felt he would not represent the will of the majority of council and that he should. Jakeway is opposed to spending the money to keep the Compost Education Centre open, whereas the majority of city council is. Presumably, Jakeway would have voted against this compromise proposal.