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If recycling negotiations fail, Cortesians could pay another $43 per household

Depending on the outcome of negotiations, many Cortes Island residents could end up paying another $43 for the garbage pick-up that they do not use. The problem is too many of us are taking our recyclables directly to the Cortes Island Waste Management Centre.

According to Wolfang Parada, Senior Manager of Engineering Services for the Strathcona Regional District (SRD), Cortes Island currently receives about $29,000 a year in incentives from Recycle BC. Unfortunately, a large number of Cortes residents do not use the curbside pick-up program. We may have the lowest volume per resident in the province.  Consequently, Cortes may lose its cash incentives.

Paper and cardboard materials that can be recycled – Photo by The Bag N Box Man LTD via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)

“In order for us to meet the minimal requirements in the agreement that we signed with recycle BC, which is 67 kilograms per household, we will need to actually request the residents of Cortes Island place every single recycling material on the curbside,” explained Parada.

“Basically, what we’re suggesting is to promote more education. The problem is that we don’t come up with an agreement with Recycle BC, there is a chance that we lose part of the incentives or 100% of the incentives that they’re giving us. Right now it is about $43 per house. We were going to try our best to negotiate these with Recycle BC. Hopefully it will be successful and we will be able to reduce the volumes that they’re asking us for. If we’re not successful, the user rates will probably have to go up.” 

The SRD has been negotiating with Recycle BC since January, and need to present a draft plan to Recycle BC by Saturday, April 15, 2023.  

However Cortes Island Director Mark Vonesch was not informed of this until shortly before the Wednesday April 12 meeting of the Electoral Areas Services Committee. 

He wanted to know, “Why we’re getting this now instead of earlier?”  

Parada said staff were not able to present this at the last meeting, but he could share the draft plan with Vonesch if he was interested.

The Cortes Island Director is definitely interested and pointed out that part of the problem is soft plastics are not part of the program. Many Cortesians are pretty environmentally conscious and want to see their soft plastics recycled. Also glass collection was discontinued in 2020, so residents already take it directly to the depot.  

He added they also go to the depot for the Free Store.  

“If glass was picked up on the curbside, that would certainly have a big impact on the amount that was picked up. That’s one thing worth considering. I have spoken with the contractor and they there are open to that happening as well. Secondly, you’re looking at the option of having garbage picked up every two weeks and having recycling picked up every two weeks. Changing the way that’s done might be another way to increase the recyclables that get picked up,” said Vonesch. 

“I really appreciate staff’s effort on this and understand this is a challenging thing. It is part of the culture that people do show up at the recycling center. Look forward to seeing the draft report and hope we can resolve this and keep these subsidies going so that user fees are not increased.”

Top image credit: At the Apr 12 EASC meeting, Senior Manager Wolfang Parada explained that the SRD has been negotiating the terms of Cortes Island’s recycling pick-up since January and have to present a draft plan in three days.

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One thought on “If recycling negotiations fail, Cortesians could pay another $43 per household”

  1. Many properties don’t use the garbage collection service either. If they could opt out, that might improve your statistics. Some rural places have compartmentalized big bins in the community nodes to self serve recycle. That might save money, like the post office instead of going door to door.

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