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Nelson taxpayers subsidize rural recycling

A change will come soon because the rural areas of the RDCK are expected to sign on with Recycle BC.

Recycling within the city of Nelson is not paid for by the taxpayers of Nelson.

The costs are covered by the manufacturers of the waste, whose industry associations pay Recycle BC to pay the City of Nelson to pick up our recycling. So recycling is free, as it should be.

But wait, don’t Nelson residents still get a recycling bill every year at tax time? Yes they do, but that’s to cover about 47 per cent of the cost of recycling for our rural neighbours in Salmo and Areas D, E, F, and G. They have not signed on to the Recycle BC program and therefore they pay for their own recycling through taxes.

That cost is spread across a local section of the Regional District of Central Kootenay, which includes Nelson, and since Nelson constitutes about half the value of the property assessments in the region, its share is large.

For 2017, according to the RDCK, Nelson residents pay a total of about $170,000 out of a total recycling tax of $360,000 for recycling operation and pickup at transfer stations at Grohman, Kokanee Marina, Kalso, Balfour, Ymir, and Salmo.

This is nothing new. But a change is expected to come soon because the rural areas of the RDCK are expected to sign on with Recycle BC.

Why has this not happened sooner?

In 2013 the rural areas were offered the opportunity and turned it down. In 2014 they changed their minds, but by then Recycle BC told them they were too late because the agency said it could not afford to take on more clients. So the rural RDCK was left out, along with 29 other wait-listed communities in B.C.

Now Recycle BC says they can include them in the program because of a $14 million increase in its revenue from the provincial government.

Until now, Recycle BC has said it could not take on any more areas because one of the most significant waste producers in the province, the newspaper industry, refused to sign up to pay Recycle BC to pick up and recycle newsprint.

Now the provincial government is picking up that tab.

Negotiations between Recycle BC and the RDCK about various logistics and the location of recycling depots are expected in the new year.

Related:

Newspaper publisher calls province’s proposed recycling fees ‘extortion’ (March 2016)

Recycling subsidy means tax break for RDCK residents(Nov. 2017)

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