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RDCK voters firmly reject curbside waste pickup

1157 residents of Areas F and H voted voted — a 30 per cent turnout

Rural voters in three areas of the Regional District of Central Kootenay have resoundingly rejected a proposed plan for curbside waste collection.

On May 11, residents in the combined Areas F and H cast 1,025 “no” votes, and 131 “yes” votes, with a 30 per cent voter turnout.

The curbside collection would have been a three-stream service: garbage, recycling, and food waste.

Under the defeated proposal, food waste would have been picked up weekly, and garbage and recycling (paper, cardboard, metal cans, hard plastics) would be collected biweekly.

The RDCK would have charged residents $280 per year for the service.

Area F is located on the north shore of the Kootenay River and the West Arm from Bonnington to Willow Point. The part of Area H that was being considered for this service runs from South Slocan to Passmore.

Area F director Tom Newell said he thinks voters rejected the plan partly because of the cost.

“People perceived this to be more costly than their current system of disposing of waste and recyclables,” Newell said. “I think most people just felt they had their own system in place that was working for them.”

He said people also were worried about the inconvenience of getting waste materials to the end of their driveway as well as the possibility of attracting wildlife with organic waste and interfering with snowplows.

Walter Popoff, the director for Area H, echoed Newell’s comments. He said many people told him they do their own composting and see no need to have the regional district do it at a higher cost.

Newell said an audit of the Ootishenia landfill in August, 2023, showed that 63 per cent of the waste deposited there could have been recycled or composted, and that was the reason the RDCK introduced the curbside initiatives.

The RDCK’s stated rationale for the curbside pickup in the three communities was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by composting organic waste, reduce the volume of material in the landfill, and to reduce wildlife attractants.

In Area J, residents voted 830 to 103 to reject the plan to add curbside waste and organics to its already-existing recycling curbside program. This would have come at a cost to residents of $283 per year.

Area J includes Ootischenia, Robson, Renata, and Syringa.

Bill Metcalfe

About the Author: Bill Metcalfe

I have lived in Nelson since 1994 and worked as a reporter at the Nelson Star since 2015.
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