Abandoned blue bags are seen at the Grohman Narrows transfer station earlier this month. Former RDCK director Andy Shadrack says changes to the recycling system need to be revisited.

LETTER: Former RDCK director wants recycling revisited

Andy Shadrack and Michael Jessen write that they “reject changes made to the central resource recovery program.”

Our property taxes and recycling fees are in part used to pay Regional District of Central Kootenay stipends and staff salaries so that they can provide services to us, not design services to suit the needs of contractors and the ill-suited rules and regulations dreamed up by the BC government and their agents like Multi-Materials BC.

We, in the absence of a stated commitment by the RDCK to hold public meetings to discuss the current state of recycling with all residents and taxpayers in the central resource recovery region, request that we be a delegation, at the RDCK’s Dec. 10 board meeting.

We specifically reject changes made to the central resource recovery recycling program that have caused staff to implement and adopt the following:

1. Padlocked recycling bins with openings so small that large volume recyclers cannot access these bins in an appropriate and timely manner;

2. Removal of recycling bins from locations easily accessible for recyclers to locations that are convenient only for the recycling contractor;

3. Reduction in public access times to the recycling bins and/or recycling services such that, in some communities, access to recycling has been reduced from 24/7 to between less than 24 hours per week and once in 14 days;

4. Your acceptance of the absurd notion that recycling can only take place in remote and rural BC inside fenced and manned recycling stations, contrary to what is actually happening in the states of Washington, Idaho and Montana — a policy that will waste hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of taxpayers dollars in rural and remote BC.

We specifically request that the contractor, Waste Management, be directed to:

1. Remove all padlocks from their bins so that we can access bins in a timely and appropriate manner in accordance with the volume of material we wish to recycle

2. Place recycling bins in locations where we, the residents and taxpayers, can access them at our convenience, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so that we, who are not paid and who in fact pay to recycle, can voluntarily continue to support the goal of reducing our waste to zero.

3. That representatives of the municipalities using the MMBC program in Central Kootenay, and the regional district itself, sit down with the BC government, and with MMBC and all other recycling agencies to discuss long term creation of single depot recycling stations in Central Kootenay.

We outright reject the current situation whereby some municipalities offer one recycling program with a different set of materials to be recycled, while the regional district offers another with a completely different set of materials to be recycled, noting that neither meet the stated recycling materials goals of the BC government’s legislation, because that government refuses to enforce its own legislation and because MMBC refuses to sign a single joint contract with the regional district and all of the municipalities.

We, as the voluntary recyclers and as the taxpayers, who pay all the recycling fees and taxes, have had enough of all levels of government and multiple recycling agencies designing programs to suit their bottom line and not ours.

We, who live in remote and rural BC, will no longer put up with “hand me down recycling programs” that are not designed to take into account our capabilities. We desire to see a level of service that matches what we are collectively paying in taxes and fees for recycling.

In conclusion we wish to remind all regional district directors that we, the residents and taxpayers of Central Kootenay, are not your enemies, and neither do we wish to suck it up as your staff have so rudely suggested in public statements to the media.

We therefore humbly request that, as requested by a petition with 233 names delivered from Kaslo and Area D to the central resource recovery meeting on Nov. 5, direct staff to hold a series of public meetings so that it can be explained why changes have been made to our recycling program, and then listen to us explain how we would like the service to be delivered so that we can access it in accordance with our needs and capabilities, instead of in accordance with the ideas of organizations, agencies and persons who do not live in remote and rural BC.

Finally we urge the RDCK to act on our request to meet with us and to work with us, as we do not intend to indefinitely continue paying taxes and fees for a reduced and inferior recycling service that includes restricted access to recycling bins and depots.

Andy Shadrack, Kaslo

Michael Jessen, Longbeach