The City of Nelson doesn’t want to subsidize recycling in the adjoining rural areas any more, and a May 28 letter from Mayor Deb Kozak has put the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) board on notice.
“While council is supportive of the board to provide these services to the outlying areas, as the largest funder council is not in a position to operate both its own curbside program and pay for a rural program,” the letter reads.
Recycling of the material Nelson residents put in their blue bags is paid for by Recycle BC, not city taxpayers. But rural areas are not served by Recycle BC and recycling in those areas is paid for by taxpayers, including Nelson residents because Nelson is part of the RDCK.
For 2017, according to RDCK staff in an interview in December, Nelson residents paid a total of about $170,000 or about 47 per cent of a total RDCK tax of $360,000 for rural recycling operation and pickup at transfer stations at Grohman, Kokanee Marina, Kalso, Balfour, Ymir, and Salmo.
But the city wants to stop paying for this, and in May passed a resolution to that effect.
Kozak’s letter goes on to admit that the city does receive some benefit from the rural program “which includes accepting and processing the city’s curbside recycling at the Grohman Narrows transfer station (run by the RDCK) and accepting recycling material at the depots for residents and small businesses that do not participate in the city’s curbside recycling program.”
But the letter also points out that the RDCK has had the use of the Lakeside Drive recycling depot at no cost.
Council has asked the RDCK for a breakdown of these costs and benefits, and the board has referred the question to its staff and a report is expected to come to the board in July.
The city needs the surplus, Kozak’s letter states, to replace its aging garbage truck and to deal with Recycle BC’s phase-out of blue bags expected next year.