Board members for Comox Strathcona Waste Management asked staff to consider some options to help residents with recycling.
The issue came up at the outset of the Sept. 9 board meeting during a discussion concerning the minutes from an advisory committee meeting in August.
Alternate director Alex Bissinger, a Comox representative, cited recent issues with curbside collection of waste, the closure of the recycle bins at the Canex location at CFB Comox and a recent move by the Anderton Road Return-It depot to accept only bottles.
“It’s creating a lot more traffic in the Courtenay depot,” she said, adding she worried the recent challenges could lead to more illegal dumping.
She wondered about resuming bin use at the Canex site as a temporary measure until the issues are resolved.
The issue for the Anderton Road Return-It depot, according to CSWM directors, is that its lease will expire shortly. Bissinger’s fellow Comox director Ken Grant expressed concern about whether a location can be found. The site will accept bottles for a couple of months to fulfill its contract.
“The recycling depots are going to be a real challenge for us in Comox if we don’t have somewhere to go,” he said.
CSWM staff are looking to a study to provide answers about increasing recycling access. Vivian Schau, senior manager of waste management services, said the study is currently underway. As well, staff are working with local municipalities over some of the issues around waste pickup, particularly resulting from labour shortages for hauler Emterra.
“We are working through those operational challenges,” she said.
Other board members agreed there are problems to address. Area A director Daniel Arbour said they faced a “patchwork” of solutions to waste problems, with different stakeholders involved such as private companies, the provincial government and Recycle BC.
“We don’t seem to have a consistent vision,” he said. “We’re past the stage of tweaking.”
Area B director Arzeena Hamir wondered about the need for the study, saying the issues around the reduced recycling access of late were already known. Schau responded the study will not focus on demand but on a long-term solution for more options. She also said staff were hesitant about providing short-term options like the Canex location.
“We’re reluctant to provide temporary solutions,” she told the board, suggesting they need something permanent. “It will be really hard to take away.”