The Cheslatta Carrier Nation is interested in bringing recycling to their own community. Right now, the nearest recycling facility is in Burns Lake, which is a two-hour round trip for Cheslatta Carrier community members.
Chief Corrina Leween hopes that can change sometime soon.
“It’s been a couple of years that we’ve tried to establish a recycling on the southside… Currently there is our waste facility. I think that takes cardboard but nothing else,” she said.
“And I guess it all goes back to me going to Victoria with my daughter living, and how much she pushed recycling. And then seeing the amount of waste that was saved by recycling. I really have a passion for doing our part to save the environment,” she said.
According to Leween, recycling is so inconvenient because of the two-hour commute for her community members and all Southside residents, that they’d often rather throw it in the trash. Even the waste transfer facility is about a 20 minute drive.
She’s hoping they can secure an agreement with the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako, or possibly find another supporter-such as Recycle BC, or the municipality of Burns Lake-to establish recycling. The community’s main office building would likely be the best location for that, she added, because of how central it is, being one kilometre up from the ferry landing.
But while she’d like to move forward with it, right now she’s still trying to figure out exactly who to go to, to make it happen. She’s talked with RDBN, the past Burns Lake mayor, and Recycle BC, but needs more concrete direction. She said her community is also willing to contribute some of their own internal revenue to the project.
“We don’t know about the recycling business either, but we’re totally willing to learn, and then just go from there,” said Leween.
“We all need to be in this together, as a world… It’s so important that we try to participate in helping the environment sustain itself because it’s totally in jeopardy,” she added.
RDBN’s Deputy Director of Environmental Services, Janette Derkson, recalls the conversation that came up with the Cheslatta Carrier Nation previously around the subject. It was brought forward when a Cheslatta representative sat on the advisory committee while RDBN was drafting up it’s new 10-year waste management plan, approved last December.
The conversation was minimal at the time, and more work is needed to bring it to fruition.
Cheslatta can choose to partner with RDBN, and they can help support them with funding, said Derkson, or Cheslatta can strike out on their own and find their own sources of funding. Any private business, organization, or community can contact Recycle BC to try set up an agreement to make a recycling depot happen, she said.
But she hopes that RDBN can help at least in some way.
“It’s something that’s in our solid waste management plan. It’s a guiding document for us, and so we do want to look into that, to make sure they have good recycling options,” she said.