The CSWM board voted to close the unstaffed depot at Courtenay Country Market this July, along with the Canex site in July 2021. This is in addition to two sites in Campbell River that will close. Comox Valley Record file photo

CSWM board votes to close two Comox Valley recycling depots

Board also rejects idea to reconsider Campbell River depot closures

Two unstaffed recycling depots in the Comox Valley will go to the scrap heap.

At the Feb. 13 meeting, the board for Comox Strathcona Waste Management, the body that manages solid waste for the Comox Valley and Strathcona regional districts, voted to get rid of the sites at Courtenay Country Market and Canex.

CSWM had presented the idea to close the unstaffed sites it operates, along with two similar ones in the Campbell River area, at the November board meeting. At that meeting, the board voted to move ahead on the closure of the Campbell River ones but deferred a decision for the two Comox Valley sites to the new year. This was supposed to take place at a meeting in January, but that meeting ended up being cancelled.

RELATED STORY: Comox Strathcona Waste Management looks at closing unstaffed depots

As a result of the decision, the Courtenay Country Market site is slated for closure this July with the Canex one to follow in July 2021.

For CSWM, the matter comes down to matters of mess and cost. Each year, too many people are mixing in materials to the single-stream pickup sites, which damages too much material – roughly a fifth. This then ends up having to be taken to landfill instead of being recycled, which CSWM pays for through lost tipping fees. These, staff say, amount to about $45,000.

There was talk about staffing the sites, though staff said this would add to an already costly situation and may not fix the problem. The staff report estimates that if the depots all have improved lighting, paving, fencing, reduced hours to daytime only and full-time staff, it would add annual costs of $825,000. The closure of the Campbell River sites, approved in November, is expected to bring down depot costs from $575,000 to $420,000. The two Comox Valley site closures are expected to cut costs down by another $130,000. In all, the depots cost just over a third of the diversion budget but account for just over one per cent of diverted material.

Several members on the board suggest a need for better public education around the situation, especially as the unstaffed sites accept fewer items than do staffed sites operated by Recycling BC.

“People want to do the right thing, but they’re confused,” said Edwin Grieve, who represents Area C on the CVRD.

Colleen Evans, one of the Campbell River representatives, added, “I just feel there needs to be more, better-informed communications.”

Some board members made the argument the problems with the decision to provide single-stream bins rather than have separate bins for separate items.

“This is a direct result of us switching over to the single stream from the separated streams on recycling,” said Jim Abram, who represents Quadra and the Discovery Islands on the SRD.

Recycle BC operates sites around the region that accept a wide range of items for recycling. In addition, CSWM runs depots, such as the four in question, which do not take several kinds of materials. These include glass and various plastic items, according to the CSWM website.

A few on the board opposed the changes, saying closing these sites, especially ones that serve rural populations will only lead to illegal dumping.

Charlie Cornfield, one of the Campbell River representatives, questioned the decision to close the two sites in his community without something else in place.

“Change is difficult. If you’re going to do it, make sure you do it right,” he said.

He made a motion to have staff consider the financial impacts of keeping the Strathcona Gardens site in Campbell River for now until there is a viable alternative. This amendment was added to a motion to reconsider the Campbell River closures but failed to gain enough support at the board table. The board then passed the main motion to close the two Comox Valley sites.



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

Just Posted

Comox Valley Farmers’ Market set for online shopping

An online store will complement the market and is set to start taking orders soon.

Comox Valley centre offering free online meditation and mindfulness teachings

The Comox Valley has a well-kept secret in the Sherab Chamma Tibetan… Continue reading

Comox Valley Food Bank set to reopen

The organization closed last week due to concerns around COVID-19

VIDEO: Courtenay residential community offers nightly balcony salute to frontline workers

Residents of The Tides in Courtenay gathered, social distancing intact, to salute… Continue reading

COVID-19: Isolation exemptions to frontline workers a danger to patients, say Island Health employees

Staff exempt from self-isolation upon return from international travel according to Island Health

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Comox Valley grocers going extra mile during coronavirus

We have had numerous requests to post a fluid article directing consumers… Continue reading

B.C. Ferries passengers staying away, as asked, during COVID-19 pandemic

Ferry corporation says ridership down 70-80 per cent over the last week and a half

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

COVID-19 world update: Enforceable quarantine in NYC?; France orders 1 billion masks

Spain warns EU’s future at stake; New York governor calls Trump’s idea ‘federal declaration of war

Duncan man asks community to donate RVs to essential workers in need of quarantine

Ryan Oakley creates a Facebook group to help coordinate the effort

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

Most Read