After putting curbside recycling for Roberts Creek and Halfmoon Bay on hold to consult the public, the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) put the public consultation on hold last week to consult first with Multi-Material BC (MMBC).
At the May 1 infrastructure services committee, directors voted to ask MMBC to take on the curbside recycling program in the two electoral areas, instead of providing a per-household financial incentive to the SCRD to provide the service under an existing contract.
The suggestion came from Roberts Creek director Donna Shugar, who noted the possibility of MMBC taking on the program had been discussed when MMBC managing director Allen Langdon appeared before the infrastructure services committee on April 24.
In that case, “it might cost us zero,” Shugar said. “Rather than the households having to pay more than what MMBC is providing to us, they might actually provide more dollars if they’re running it themselves.”
Although staff said the idea didn’t “get a lot of support” from Langdon when it was raised after the meeting, CAO John France said he thought approaching MMBC with a formal request would be worth the effort.
“That makes an awful lot of sense to me in using taxpayers’ dollars, if the service model remains the same,” he said.
France said the SCRD had “an inkling that it’s going to cost us money” to deliver the service under the agreement signed with MMBC, but no estimated range of added costs was provided at the meeting.
Presenting a different option, District of Sechelt director Darnelda Siegers suggested the SCRD and District staff explore whether a pilot program for the two areas could be incorporated into the District’s curbside recycling contract “at minimal cost.”
Siegers noted there was “some fluidity” in the contract regarding materials collected, and it was possible to keep a separate record of volumes.
“A conversation between all affected parties might lead to something that will work,” she said.
Since a positive response from MMBC would negate the need to look at collaborating with the District of Sechelt or consult the public in Roberts Creek and Halfmoon Bay, directors agreed to write MMBC first and then proceed on the other two fronts if necessary.
France also advised caution because of staff time, “knowing they’re hugely busy right now trying to get the depots up.”
If the public consultation does go ahead, waste reduction and recovery manager Jeremy Valeriote confirmed, it would be “a significant amount of work” for staff.
“The crux of the consultation,” Valeriote said, “is would you be willing to pay X more on top of what MMBC is offering?”
Asked at the end of the meeting by Elphinstone resident Vel Anderson how much MMBC was offering, Valeriote said MMBC was offering between $35 and $40 per household per year and it was “undetermined” whether the SCRD would have to contribute more.
During the meeting, Valeriote told the committee that MMBC “will probably ask for a decision on whether we intend to go ahead with curbside in the near future.”
© Coast Reporter