PORT McNEILL—Council voted last week to establish a town recycling protocol through Multi-Material B.C. (MMBC), formalizing an agreement it made to opt in to the program ahead of a Sept. 16 deadline that has since been extended by 90 days.
Pending a formal, signed contract, which must first be approved by council, the Town would receive funding from MMBC to establish curbside recycling in the community beginning May 14, 2014.
The deadline was extended following spirited opposition to the program’s roll-out, demonstrated by delegates to last month’s Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) conference in Vancouver. Even Premier Christie Clark was moved to admit the program’s kickoff was poorly handled.
“Many of the smaller communities have opted out,” coun. Shirley Ackland said. “Not because they saw it as a bad thing, but because they thought it was being pushed through. Now I think municipalities will look at it more closely, because they’ve got a longer period of time to do that.”
The vote does not yet bind the Town to MMBC, a coalition of manufacturers and packaging providers that will collect fees for all packaging materials used for retail purchases, then use that income to ensure the materials are collected for recycling.
MMBC will negotiate contracts with any B.C. local governments that opt in, and those contracts must be approved and signed before the agreement goes into force.
Tax waivers OK’d
Council gave first, second and third readings to a bylaw that will exempt a dozen properties from their local tax obligation for the 2013-14 tax year. Tax Exemption Bylaw No. 645, 2013 will affect six church properties and six more deemed used for public benefit by non-profit organizations, including Broughton Curling Club, Royal Canadian Legion Branch 281, the Guide/Scout Hall, Port McNeill Lions Club, North Island Community Services Society and Broughton Strait Campground.
Council approved a request by Huckleberry House Child Care Centre for a one-time funding donation of $1,500 to purchase supplies and equipment through the centre’s fund-raising account.
Huckleberry House, initially started as a parent co-op in the 1980s, was taken on in 2001 by North Island Community Services, a non-profit charitable society. Two years ago it moved into the former Cheslakees Elementary School, and is in negotiations with School District 85 with the hope of becoming the first Early Learning Centre on Vancouver Island.
The centre requested a donation of $2,500, which was debated by council before it agreed unanimously on the $1,500 figure.
Council offered to donated $2,000 to the Port McNeill Volunteer Firefighters toward its annual Halloween fireworks display at the harbour.
Coun. Gaby Wickstrom noted the town entered the fiscal year in a budget crunch, and was concerned about the amount.
“I have a hard time with $2,000, when we’re cutting (expenditures) all over,” said Wickstrom.
Treasurer Albert Sweet noted the Town had $6,800 remaining in its budget for donations for the fiscal year, which ends Mar. 30.
“It’s almost year-end; I think we can splurge a little,” Mayor Gerry Furney said. “I think we can accede to their request.”
Council voted unanimously in favour. The fireworks show is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 31, at Centennial Ballpark on Broughton Blvd.
In-kind for Rotary
In one further public donation, council approved two boat-launch passes, two parking passes and one family season pass to the Town swimming pool for the 2013 Rotary Auction.