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REPORTING · 11th July 2013
Walter McFarlane
Kitimat Understanding the Environment was at Council on Monday, June 24th to talk to make a funding request. Ken Maitland and Barb Hall were in attendance, Councillor Rob Goffinet was in Conflict of Interest.

“With the increased current and future activity in Kitimat, we can assume that a high turnover of depot workers is a fact of life for the foreseeable future. It has been our experience that not having a mature, long term and experienced depot manager creates the situation that we find ourselves in. We hope that by offering a better wage to a manager, we can find and retain one that will supervise, organize and manage the staff, equipment and material flow in the depot. We suggest a wage of $18 per hour,” said Hall.

She expressed the situation was being caused by a back log of unsorted paper, bag shredded paper and televisions. They receive the televisions and monitors on a regular basis. They are awkward and heavy items which must be wrapped in plastic on a pallet. Several TV’s make a large 3D jigsaw puzzle on a pallet. They must store the televisions before they can do this and then it has to be put all together.

Hall moved on to the unsorted paper, which is the result of poor decision making when the paper arrives at the depot. It limits flow of material and forces the workers to handle the materials a lot. It is becoming a safety hazard.

“To explain some of our funding requests: Our pre emergency funding level was $4890.60 per months. When you added the $25,000 emergency money it was, $7390.60. If we hire a manager and that would be scenario one, that is an additional $850, it would be at $8240.60 a month and then, what we need to discuss, is to cover our backlog, and any future expansion that we anticipate or you anticipate or we can see in our little crystal ball,” said Hall.

She asked for money to cover issues they cannot afford since their reserve has been depleted. The items are for safety, efficiency and repairs.

Maitland said the money is to keep the operation going. It does not cover paper and packaging recycling which will come on steam during May, 2014. It also does not cover a motion which is coming before Council in September concerning Curbside recycling. He said this decision will affect what happens to KUTE.

Mayor Joanne Monaghan clarified the money was for this year, and not next. Maitland told her he is not sure where they are because of the volume of materials which they would receive. For example, they would need to buy a machine at $100,000.

Councillor Corinne Scott wanted to know what the odyssey project is. Hall explained is a project they are doing with Kitimat Community Services Society. It is a project which pays for young adults who need work experience which they can put on their resumes.

Scott wanted to know if they utilized people with disabilities. Hall told her they have hired people with disabilities in the past. They also have people who have to do Community Service come in and do work for them.

Scott stated Council is awaiting a report on recycling sometime in the near future to help them know what they are going to do in 2014. CAO Ron Poole added that Scott is correct, they are putting figures together for 2014. Hewlett and Waycheshen are working with KUTE.

Councillor Mary Murphy completed Maitland and Hall for the work they do. She stated KUTE’s program is well known around the province and is one of the reasons Kitimat will not be forced into the Forceman Ridge Project because KUTE is doing a good job of extending the life of the landfill.

Feldhoff wanted to know if they were seeing more cardboard. “The Flow of materials coming into that place is horrendous,” replied Hall.

Feldhoff was happy to hear the volume not going into the landfill was money well spent. Hall stated it was more important to keep paint, electronics, televisions and much more out of the land fill.

Murphy said it is difficult to deal with the cardboard. There is also a group which is separating what comes there. She added the seniors were not aware of the amount of work being done in Kitimat. She wanted to see the options for expansion again.

Councillor Phil Germuth wanted to know how many square feet the current depot was. He was told it was 5000. Councillor Edwin Empinado wanted to ask about a commercial cardboard pick up. He wanted to know if it came to KUTE. Hall told him it comes to them.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff made a motion to provide the $2,500 + $850 a month funding request and a onetime infusion of money between $3,500 and $5,000. Finally, he wants staff to meet with KUTE so they can discuss the changing legislations for 2014.

“My intention was to capture the financial request of KUTE,” said Feldhoff.

Hall stated they are still stuck with the backlog of material which they are trying to process with the Odyssey Program. Once the backlog is out of the way, they have the room to carry on. Feldhoff stated maybe they should increase the infusion to $10,000. He made the amendment.

Council discussed the implications of the money recommended. Feldhoff stated it would be about $30,000. He stated they did not know the price of cardboard at the beginning of the year and the money would not cripple them.

Scott inquired if they had hired a manager yet. She was told only if they have the money would one be advertised. The motion was called and carried unanimously. Monaghan thanked the recycling depot for all the work they do in town.

Feldhoff wanted to know if the previously passed motion concerning meeting with Ministry of Environment people in Smithers concerning the wood burning. He was told they are waiting for a response.

Scott asked several further questions before asking where KUTE’s extra storage will be. Hall responded they hope they will not need it after dealing with the backlog. She stated the Backlog leaves them with little room. The money will help clear the backlog.