The Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) has pulled the plug on curbside recycling in Roberts Creek and Halfmoon Bay, but will ask Multi-Material BC (MMBC) to take on the service.
The SCRD had originally signed on with MMBC to receive a financial incentive and operate the curbside pilot project in the two electoral areas starting May 19, but last month delayed the launch to consult the public about the extra cost of the program. The board then delayed public consultation to ask MMBC if it would be willing to take on the program instead, with no cost to the SCRD.
The decision to pull out of the program came last week after MMBC managing director Allen Langdon wrote a letter to staff, saying the SCRD could decline the incentive and ask MMBC to include the two areas in its next curbside collection request for proposals (RFP).
“The timeline for the next curbside collection RFP has not been established, but would likely be issued in the next three to six months,” Langdon wrote. “It is important to note that this process does not guarantee that MMBC will award a contract for curbside service in electoral areas B and D.”
Receiving the letter at the May 22 community services committee meeting, board chair Garry Nohr, who is director for Halfmoon Bay, made the motion to formally request that MMBC take over the program, and committee chair Donna Shugar, who is director for Roberts Creek, expressed her support.
“In the meantime we have the depots and it gives us the opportunity to get the full benefit of what MMBC has to offer,” Shugar said.
District of Sechelt director Darnelda Siegers noted there was no guarantee that MMBC would find it financially viable to offer the curbside service.
“And that’s a risk we’re willing to take,” Shugar said, “because we always have our fallback position of doing it with an added cost to the consumer.”
Nohr agreed, saying the board was “still in doubt” about aspects of the program and was “doing the best thing we can” to ensure due diligence for constituents.
“If we find out that MMBC is not going to do this, and that’s the only alternative we have — to put an RFP out — then that’s OK, too,” he said. “But if we at least apply to MMBC and see what can be done by them, and if it is cheaper and more effective for the taxpayer, that’s the way to go.”
The committee passed the motion and the board ratified it that evening.
In his letter, Langdon said MMBC was not in a position to directly fund a short-term pilot program for curbside collection in the two areas, adding that the service would not “offer new or unique information” as MMBC builds its operational database.
As for going back to MMBC for a financial incentive to operate the program if MMBC declines, Langdon noted that 70 local governments and private collectors are now on a waiting list to execute agreements with MMBC.
“If the SCRD is not able to confirm that curbside service will be introduced no later than Jan. 1, 2015, MMBC will explore providing incentives to another wait-listed collectors,” he wrote. “In turn, the SCRD would be placed on the wait list for future opportunities as they arise.”
Langdon set a deadline of June 15 for the SCRD to make a final decision on whether it would introduce the service this calendar year.
© Coast Reporter