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Cost of operating 9 recycling depots may fall directly on Columbia-Shuswap taxpayers

Province reponds to concerns raised by regional district
The Scotch Creek Transfer Station includes one of nine rural recycling depots within the Columbia Shuswap Regional District that could be financially impacted by changes proposed by RecycleBC. (CSRD image)

By Barb Brouwer

Special to the Observer

Columbia Shuswap Regional District directors are hoping their concerns about Recycle BC’s proposed changes to the number of eligible collection sites have been heard by the province.

In December, board chair Kevin Flynn wrote a letter to George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, outlining CSRD concerns about the eligibility criteria contained in Recycle BC’s proposed Packaging and Paper Product Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) consultation document.

If the proposal were to go ahead as is, nine of 17 existing CSRD recycle depots would no longer be eligible for funding from Recycle BC for the collection and recycling of packaging and paper materials.

If the CSRD continued to operate recycle depots that do not meet the proposal’s community criteria, the financial responsibility would be shifted to directly to regional district taxpayers.

Should the regional district opt out of operating non-criteria recycling depots, many communities would no longer be funded by Recycle BC and depots located at Parson, Skimikin Lake, Salmon Valley, Sorrento Fire Hall, Downtown Malakwa, Scotch Creek, Trout Lake, Seymour Arm and Falkland would no longer be included.

Read more: Columbia Shuswap Regional District adds recycling items

Read more: Plastic sorting simplified at Columbia Shuswap Regional District recycle depots

In her Jan. 24 letter to the board, ministry spokesperson Katrina Forrest advised that the ministry’s role is to review and approve environmental plan reviews, and to monitor industry’s performance in accordance with the approved plans, “including ensuring programs, such as Recycle BC provide sufficient access to collection services to the public for items covered by the program.”

Forrest pointed out that Recycle BC’s extended producer responsibility plan is due to be submitted to the ministry for approval in April 2023.

She noted the ministry is monitoring all feedback regarding Recycle BC’s proposed plan and its implications for consumers, operators, and local governments within the PPP collection system.

“The ministry recognizes the challenges associated with providing convenient recycling solutions for rural communities,” Forrest wrote. “The ministry will continue to work with Recycle BC to provide services for residents in the CSRD and other communities across the province.”
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