REPORTING · 18th January 2015
Kitimat City Council was seeing presentations related to the 2015 Budget on January 13th. Among the presenters were Barb Hall and Ken Maitland from Kitimat Understanding the Environment.
“K.U.T.E. has operated for almost a full year now at our current funding level from the District of Kitimat, $12,396.50 per month or $148,758 annually. We have managed to operate with this monetary point and expect to be able to for another year. We are not requesting any increase this year,” said Hall.
They predict there will be a slowdown of recyclables from the Rio Tinto Alcan Modernization as it approaches completion. There will also be an increase from the hotels and condo construction. The employees will need to update their forklift training.
“As per the District of Kitimat direction, we signed a two year lease on the depot. This lease will expire at the end of December, 2015. We do not know what the new rent will be,” said Hall.
Maitland explained their budget increased in 2014 when their rent doubled. They did not know what leased space in Kitimat following the modernization.
This year, they will be working with the Kitimat Community Garden to hold the seed and plant exchange in May, they will be planning the River Clean Up alongside their partners. They are planning a hazardous waste day, although the costs keep going up.
Councillor Larry Walker asked if they were looking for options for a new centre. Hall said they are, and they have had some help from District of Kitimat Employees and the former Mayor, Joanne Monaghan. Nothing has come up.
Maitland expressed their equipment is currently sharing power. They can only run one baler at a time and are going back and forth between the two. He told Council they need some upgrades to the power of the building, but these upgrades require BC Hydro upgrades. The upgrades are expensive and Maitland told Council no one is going to spend that much money without a long term commitment.
“We have limited options. We have space for what we’re doing, we don’t have power for what we’re doing,” said Maitland.
In addition, recyclable material is going down in price at the moment.
Councillor Mario Feldhoff asked about how Kitimat did not seem to be getting a blue box program out of Multi Materials BC, how it seems to be supporting blue box recycling programs which were already in place in the lower mainland. He said communities like Kitimat are paying it but only have a small area to take recycling.
“One of the discussion points we had at the Regional Planning and Monitoring Committee today, we were formulating motions to take to the board to take to the Ministry of Environment complaining about the lack of servicing to the northwest and we are aware of other areas in the Province lacking and pressuring this group that are mandated by law to provide these services and we are now paying for,” said Maitland.
He said Kitimat is paying twice for recyclable material. When people buy something, they pay the tax for recycling at this time. Then when it gets landfilled because the people who are supposed to take care of it cannot, consumers are paying this tax a second time.
“In the lower mainland, the bigger centres, they pay for it once, and they get benefits back from it. We pay for it twice, and get nothing,” said Maitland.
Feldhoff expressed the offer MMBC gave to Council was a take it or leave it deal. Council was for recycling but there were strings attached. MMBC expressed if one group could not do it, the other they would, but then they contracted it out. Feldhoff expressed where the recycling dollars went should have been directed by the community, preferably towards KUTE.
Hall expressed they looked over the contract and were offered to become a depot. However, they could not meet the contract. They would have to have a fenced yard with a lock, the reporting would require a new part time job and they could not get answers to questions.
“It seemed like it was hurried, the whole thing was hurried and they were very focused on the lower mainland. With all these things in the contract, I just said: ‘No way. There is no way I am going to sign something like this. We can’t meet these things in this contract at all and it was all or nothing,” said Hall.
Germuth stated there were going to be huge fines for contamination. Hall agreed.
“The contamination fine level was 5%. The best recycling programs in the world run at a minimum of 7% contamination,” said Maitland.
“You’re doomed to fail,” said Hall.
KUTE plans to approach MMBC again to see if they have answers. One of the expectations was the capacity to store 1 tonne of Styrofoam, which is 3 40’ containers.
Mayor Germuth stated the plan presented to Council was for a curbside recycling program. Council looked at the numbers and determined they would not do it. MMBC chose not to do a curbside recycling program.