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Bottom line not as high as anticipated

Recycling plan results in jobs and cleaner stream

Is the new regional recycling program working? That’s the $64,000-question (almost).

According to a report from Mike Wall, Powell River Regional District’s manager of community services, the net annual saving of the current recycling program, compared to the one it replaced, is $63,084.

At the regional district’s committee of the whole meeting recently, Wall said that when Multi-Material BC (MMBC) receives the regional district’s collection, the regional district is paid an incentive, per tonne, on the different material lines. So, for example, plastics, paper and cardboard would have different values of reimbursement.

To get the program up and running, Wall said just under $100,000 had been spent by the regional district in capital costs, which will not be expenditures going forward.

“In two years, comparative to where we were, the capital will be paid off,” he said. “We’ve increased jobs and we have a much cleaner recycling stream.”

Colin Palmer, Electoral Area C director and board chair, said he had asked staff to look into the amount of money that was spent for the depots, and maybe the next regional board would want to consider taking that money out of the solid waste management reserve.

“If the whole board agreed on that it would make the actual recycling look at lot better than what it does, simply because we were caught short by MMBC,” Palmer said. “Once the numbers come in, the board might want to consider that.”

Jim Palm, City of Powell River representative, said he was racking his brain regarding projections on how much money would be saved when the regional district went down the MMBC road.

Linda Greenan, manager of financial services, said when the regional district enlisted in the MMBC program, it was with the understanding that the program would operate the same as it had before.

“We would have the rural depots and we would no longer have to pay for the processing and we wouldn’t have to pay for transportation to pick up the materials from the recycling depots,” she said. “That wasn’t the case. What actually happened is we had to pay for staff at the recycling depots that we didn’t have before.

“We thought we would save more than $200,000 a year but we are actually saving about $63,000 a year. It’s quite a bit different but it’s a different program than what we anticipated.”

Palm said he wanted to clarify that a lot of that $140,000 shortfall, as far as projection, was capital cost. Greenan agreed.

She said when the regional district found out that roofs had to be constructed over the outdoor collection depots, a budget amendment was prepared and approved to pay for the capital upgrades from waste management reserve funds.

Palmer said he wanted to make a point about the employees at the depots. He said they are not regional district employees, but are employees of Sunshine Disposal.

“There is no connection between us and their employment,” Palmer said. “We are just providing the depot where they work.”

The committee carried a motion to receive Wall’s report for information.