The BMO Financial Group’s slickly produced 2016 Corporate Responsibility Report includes a seven-page human-interest feature about a very interesting human named Buddy Boyd.
It turns out that our Buddy Boyd, back in 1971 when he was “also known by his given name Arthur,” was a graduate of the Bank of Montreal Youth Project, “a social experiment in giving youth in Montreal a second chance.” Buddy, the article tells us, was a rudderless 19-year-old with a Grade 6 education when he signed up for the six-month program, and its “blend of academic fundamentals and practical experience provided exactly the springboard he needed.”
Many jobs followed, until “finally, in 2003, Buddy was able to make his lifelong concern for the environment the focal point of his entrepreneurial drive – by launching Gibsons Recycling Depot with his partner Barb Hetherington. Today,” the article continues, “Gibsons Recycling is the largest privately owned, non-subsidized waste diversion and resource recovery business in British Columbia, employing a staff of 17 in the small port community of Gibsons.”
The article goes on to list some of the significant firsts for the recycling depot and touches on Buddy’s international reputation as a guru in the Zero Waste movement. “I’ve come full circle, from learning in the Youth Project to being the teacher,” Buddy observes.
The BMO piece is a wonderful tribute to a local mover and shaker, but it comes at a sadly ironic time. This week, Buddy and Barb sold the Venture Way property to a local businessman who has agreed to lease it to the couple for another year, while they try to find a buyer for the business. Efforts are underway in the community to raise money for that purpose, and we are crossing our fingers that Buddy and Barb can “pass the baton” and Gibsons Recycling can continue to exist and evolve.
Although Buddy is trying to look ahead with optimism, he can’t hide his disappointment in local government for its continued lack of support for true Zero Waste policies. Two years ago, he was extremely vocal about the pitfalls of the Multi-Material BC takeover of recycling in the community, but the Sunshine Coast Regional District essentially ignored his concerns. “He’s the only one on the Coast who knows anything about recycling, but nobody listens,” Pender Harbour recycler Joe Harrison said at the time.
Buddy told us last week that he and Barb “no longer have the energy to keep fighting our own local government. Thirteen years is long enough – nothing seems like it is going to change.”
It really is a classic case of the prophet not being honoured in his own land.