PORT McNEILL—The Regional District of Mount Waddington Board of Directors last week signed off on a recycling stewardship program with Multi-material B.C. (MMBC), and it provided an immediate impact as the RDMW also approved an agreement with Steelhead Enterprises that will keep the company on as the contractor of Seven Mile Landfill for up to five more years.
The agreements were approved during the board’s monthly meeting Nov. 19.
The Seven Mile management contract assures a three-year term for Steelhead Ent., a local company that has managed the landfill for the past five years.
A mutual option could extend the contract an additional two years, though it could be impacted by the success or failure of the MMBC program, which takes effect in May, 2014.
“Over the three-year term, we’ll be monitoring the recyclables collected (at the landfill),” said Patrick Donaghy, RDMW operations manager. “Our base rate is 6,500 tonnes of solid waste (annually), and if we see a significant reduction, the regional district can examine whether the existing agreement is appropriate or if it requires renegotiation.”
MMBC, a coalition of manufacturers and wholesalers who utilize packaging materials like cardboard and plastics, has been tasked by the provincial government with helping divert 75 per cent of all recyclable material from landfill waste streams by 2020.
To reach that goal, the group is providing financial incentives to local governments that contract curbside and other recycling programs.
The Regional District will provide expanded recycling through depots in Woss, Malcolm Island, Winter Harbour and at Seven Mile Landfill.
Additional potential service will include curbside pickup in Coal Harbour — dependent upon the District of Port Hardy approving curbside recycling in town, and a depot in Quatsino — dependent upon Quatsino residents setting up a local service.
A greater volume of recyclables shipped from the North Island will both reduce costs at the landfill and bring in additional income through MMBC.
“Our hope is the greater convenience of curbside pickup and local depots will be a greater incentive for diversion (of recyclables) at the household level,” said Donaghy.
The District of Port Hardy and the Town of Port McNeill have been negotiating MMBC contracts for their communities that could potentially include curbside recycling service, provided through local waste collection contractor Fox Disposal.
Steelhead Enterprises, based in Port McNeill, is yet another local provider, and the RDMW was pleased to welcome the company back after its more than five years as contractor at the landfill.
“Their bid was impressive, considering the tender was advertised across B.C., with an allowance for Alberta companies to apply as well,” said Donaghy.
Jay Dixon of School District 85’s Connections program, which facilitates visits and cooperative experience between local businesses and secondary school students on the North Island, requested a one-year extension of an agreement between the school district and the RD.
Administrator Greg Fletcher noted the Connections program dovetails nicely with the RD’s Project Comeback, which utilizes interviews with current students and recent graduates to determine the factors that drive youth away from the North Island — and ask them what it would take to bring them back to the area following completion of post-secondary or trades programs.
“Jay’s already mobilized that group of students,” said Fletcher. “And I think they’ve already had their eyes opened. They weren’t aware of how many employers there are on the North Island — and how many of them are looking for employees.”