MMBC contract shows who’s the boss


John Gleeson / Staff Writer
June 12, 2014 03:12 PM

Collateral damage from the corporate monorail scheme called Multi-Material BC is mounting across the province, as local governments, recyclers and green-minded citizens start to realize what’s in store for them under MMBC.

In South Surrey, a bottle depot operator said he expects “lots of depot owners” to opt out of the program that is leaving him with “mounds of glass and plastic” that will end up in the landfill, the Peace Arch News reported on June 9.

On Vancouver Island, changes to depot operations and curbside pickup are “wreaking havoc,” according to a June 11 story in the Campbell River Island Courier. The paper quotes recycler Chris Bird who said the impact on his depot is “a disaster” and estimated the rate of contamination in curbside totes was more than 20 per cent.

Bird said he will get paid $100 for a load of recycling that cost him $500 to collect. If contaminated loads get through, he added, “there are fines imposed by the company that’s running the MMBC program up to $1,100 per incident.”

The Vernon Morning Star reported on June 6 that a director for the Regional District of North Okanagan told his board he was fielding numerous complaints from the public.

“People are getting so frustrated. They say they can’t figure it out and they’re putting the items in the landfill,” said Director Mike Macnabb, who called for the district to “consider options” if the situation continues.

A Castelgar councillor voiced the same fear last month — that people are simply tossing out materials that could have been recycled, the Castlegar News reported.

“In Castlegar we had a really progressive recycling program. Now we don’t, we’re going backwards,” Coun. Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff said.

The growing fallout is no surprise to Buddy Boyd of Gibsons Recycling Depot, who has been a harsh critic of the program that’s governed by a board in Ontario comprised of multinational giants Unilever Canada, Metro, Walmart, Tim Hortons Inc., Loblaw, Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble.

“This was predicted and we all knew this,” Boyd said Thursday. “As the rubber hits the road, it’s apparent that we’re running on flat tires.”

There were good reasons why three out of four local governments on the Sunshine Coast did not “get with the program,” and most of them can be found by looking at the MMBC contract.

The 28-page master services agreement that the Sunshine Coast Regional District signed late last year makes it clear who the “master” is.

In exchange for a financial incentive that will result in no tax relief for property owners and lead to business failure for established depots, MMBC sets all the rules while local governments relinquish control of their communities’ recycling and waste reduction goals and hand it over to Toronto’s fattest cats.

“The contractor will comply at all times with all policies and standards” set out by MMBC, which “may be updated by MMBC from time to time … Upon MMBC’s request, and in any event at least once per year, MMBC will meet with contractor (which meeting may be in person or by phone as determined by MMBC) to review and discuss contractor’s performance level … Contractor will assign and hereby assigns to MMBC all rights, title and interest it may have from time to time in the work products effective upon creation.”

It goes on and on. And it’s crystal clear who’s running the show. As for local government transparency — well, that’s up to MMBC now: “Contractor will not … make any statement or issue any advertisement, publicity release, press releases to the public or the media with respect to this agreement or MMBC, unless it has obtained MMBC’s prior written approval, including that contractor will not disclose or otherwise publicly report on any service performance metrics (including volumes of materials collected or processed).”

Boyd summed it up: “No smart person with a modicum of common sense would sign that contract.”

There is one thing in the contract that offers a ray of hope for people on the Coast. It’s called a 180-day termination clause.  

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