Commercial tipping fees will be on the rise in the Columbia Shuswap Regional District.
In a report to the board, Ben Van Nostrand, team leader of Environmental Health Services, wrote that the regional district is subsidizing commercial recycling due to the increasing costs of managing the material and the lack of provincial policy to recognize commercial recycling under a stewardship program.
“The CSRD has reviewed its costs to manage commercial recycling programs and has determined that tipping fees should be increased in order to reduce subsidies,” he wrote. “The recommendation is to increase tipping fees for commercial recycling from $80/tonne to $160/tonne and to introduce a Commercial Mattress Load definition and associated tipping fee, effective April 1, 2023.”
The costs to administer this program have seen significant increases over the past several years, from increased hauling costs to higher processing fees. In 2022, the CSRD managed approximately 1,000 tonnes of commercial recyclable material, which represents a tax subsidy of $170,000.
“It’s costing us $250 a pound to manage the material and they’re paying $80,” Van Nostrand told directors at the Jan. 19 board meeting in Salmon Arm. “We have reached out to commercials, but they not taken us up on it so we’re raising the fees to help offset the cost of program and change attitudes and behaviours.”
The CSRD’s mattress recycling program has been very successful in diverting mattresses from regional district landfills, with an average of 6,000 mattresses being recycled annually.
“The program is expensive to operate and was intended to provide a recycling option for residents,” said Van Nostrand in his report. “However, businesses (mainly hotels and temporary housing camps) have delivered large batch loads of mattresses to the refuse sites, leading to major operational challenges.”
In an attempt to encourage businesses to work with a mattress recycling company, the CSRD is proposing a “Commercial Mattress Load” definition and rate which is defined as a load containing eight or more mattresses and an associated minimum charge rate of $320 or $40 per mattress.
In terms of raising general commercial load rates from $80 to $160 per tonne, Golden Mayor Ron Oszust said he is supportive of raising the fee even higher.
“I will support the $160, but I do think it should go up higher,” he said. “I am supportive of the fee going up to $240.”
Van Nostrand pointed out that he thinks rate increases are part of a broader discussion.
“We are doing a solid waste management review and will be coming to the board in June,” he said. “The model of subsidies is one we’re fully aware of and those rub points are some we can certainly review.”
Electoral Area E Rural Sicamous director and Deputy Chair Rhona Martin acknowledged the regional district is not set up to receive huge loads of mattresses, but pointed out that commercial enterprises already pay more through taxation. She said that she pays taxes as a private individual and again as a business owner.
Directors agreed unanimously to approve the recommendation to increase tipping fees for commercial recyclable material, which based on similar tonnage, is expected to reduce the subsidy from $170,000 to $90,000.