Recycling Center to be Removed... For Now
The latest saga in the ongoing issue of Rossland’s recyclables involved the Regional District’s Director of Environmental Services Alan Stanley presenting and answering questions at council this past Monday night.
Essentially, aside from many questions asked about possible alternatives from councillors, the story was that the previous council instructed the RD to remove the depot bins and that is what they must do.
“The current situation is that Rossland council requested the board of directors to remove the recycling depot from the arena parking lot and our board of directors agreed to do this and the motion was to do it no later than November 30th,” explained Stanley. “We’re on borrowed time now. So we’re in a real situation that our board has been given clear direction to remove the depot at the request of Rossland council. The new (Regional District) board will not be in a position to make any new decisions on this until well into the new year at the earliest after we go through the budgets, financial presentations and so on. I think that for us to comply with the previous Rossland council’s desires and our current board’s direction we pretty much have to act on that and remove the bins, because I’ve got no mandate to keep that place running right now. Our contractors have agreed to do a prorated fee so we don’t get charged for the full month, just until we can get the bins pulled out. That’s exactly where we are right now.”
In a bit of a last ditch effort to keep the bins operating, Councillor Kathy Moore asked Mr. Stanley if there was anything they could do at the Regional Council to hold off the removal of the bins until Rossland council decides on the appropriate action.
“I don’t know if there is some other legal mechanism we can use now or not to keep the depot here at all?” asked Moore
To which Mr. Stanley replied, “The only thing that I can do now is get another resolution from the board, and that will have to come after budgets have been created and studies have taken place to decide if that is indeed the best course of action into the future.”
Frustration was evident among many of the councillors at the seemingly futile situation they are facing around keeping the depot. Councillor Jill Spearn, leading the questioning of Mr. Stanley, asked for at least some problem solving efforts between the Regional District and Rossland Council.
“What I’m wishing to hear or would like is to problem solve along the same lines as Councillor Moore has suggested,” said Spearn. “We’ve had a really strong voice from our business community and you know the unfortunate part of the whole process I would say from my perspective as councillor and a citizen is that it did come to the last council where we had to make a decision fairly expediently with our term coming to an end and with some of the issues that came up. The thing is that if we really want to figure this out and problem solve it then I think we can do it. Part of the reason it didn’t work out at the arena was because we assumed as a council that it was going to be fenced and paved and all of that within this next budget that you are referring to and in fact that never did happen it wasn’t approved, it had to go to approval. So we figured, okay, we’re not getting the lighting, we’re not getting the fencing, we’re not getting the amenities and signage to make it a sightly endeavour as well as financially. I’m very adamant and you can probably hear it in my voice that I think we need to problem solve and figure it out. If it takes you having to actually remove those bins and move them down to Trail and then we go through a process to get it back then I’m in favour of that.”
Other ideas talked about with Mr. Stanley included the possibility of going to weekly recyclable pickup rather than bi-weekly if the depot is to be closed. To this question Stanley replied, “Well then we’d have an awful lot of empty trucks driving around and that doesn’t make a lot of sense.”
Closing out the discussion, Spearn put forward a follow up motion to the existing motion stating Rossland’s desires to keep the depot. “I’d like to make a follow up motion to engage in further dialogue with the regional district to explore a central or other accessible system that would complement the blue box system.”
The motion was passed, and as the situation sits now the Regional District will be removing the bins shortly, leaving Rossland depot-less. To regain the depot in town the RD will have to pass a new resolution to re-instate the depot, which is not expected to happen, if at all, until sometime in the new year.