A tin building with a red roof standing in front of the forest

A regional model: free stores and other waste reducing facilities

At a time when the average Canadian spends more than $3,000 a year on clothing, many Cortes Island residents are satisying their personal needs and disposing of clothing through the local freestore. Similarly, Creative Deconstruction has supplied materials used in ten new homes on Cortes Island. Mark Vonesch, the Regional Director for Cortes Island, suggests that centres like this may offer a model that needs to be promoted throughout the Comox and Strathcona Regional Districts. 

“I’m just getting back from the Comox Strathcona Waste Management Board meeting. This is a board that I sit on as a director, and we provide guidance and leadership to the waste management services in the Comox Valley District and the Strathcona Regional Districts,” he explained. 

Mark Vonesch, Regional Director of Cortes Island – courtesy SRD

“One of the things on Cortes that I know a lot of people care about is the Free Store. It’s great on a lot of levels. It’s part of our culture and it’s a way of sharing things. It’s a way of reducing our waste and it’s a way of reusing items that somebody doesn’t want and is useful for somebody else.” 

“Thinking more regionally,  what are the opportunities for us as a region to divert waste things that are going into the landfill that have value. The Free Store on Cortes is an obvious example of that and there are other Free Stores across the district.” 

“I’ve asked for a staff report on where we’re at with reuse, Free Stores and those sort of facilities. What can we do to expand and grow it?” 

“One of the things on Cortes, there’s room to potentially expand the Free Store. Is there a better location for it?  Is there a way for us to bring in the reuse of building materials and some of the things that red tape is currently stopping us from being able to reuse.”

“I think this is something that  is regional. It’s an issue because we have to deal with all our waste.  How can we deal with it in a way that’s good for the environment, that supports local people and promotes the culture of reuse and reducing our footprint on the planet.”

“They’re going to come back with a staff report and then I’m hoping that  as a board, we can come together  on moving forward  on some of the lower hanging fruit to start diverting more waste from landfills.”

Top image credit: The Cortes Island Free Store – Roy L Hales photo

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