Plans by the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako to establish a stand alone recycling depot in conjunction with the province-wide Recycle BC organization for Houston and area have been put on hold.
This spring’s fire at the Smithers facility has affected the ability to handle recycling material from the region, explained Janette Derksen, the regional district’s deputy director of environmental services, in a June 10 memo to regional district directors.
“Current work with the District of Houston to acquire land has been delayed …. due to the recycling issues and challenges in the western part of the region regarding the loss of the recycling receiving facility in Smithers,” she wrote.
“Unfortunately, due to the distance to ship the loose depot mterial for bailing and processing, Recycle BC will unlikely enter into a depot contract with [the regional district] for a depot program in Houston until a receiving facilit is re-established within the western part of the region.”
With that complication and other work demands on regional district staffers, Derksen recommended keeping the Houston Bottle Depot on a month-to-month contract until the search for a location forms a part of the regional district’s 2020 work plan.
Regional district staffers had already been working on a Houston depot location and had the Houston Bottle Depot on a month to month contract of $3,290.70 per month until another location was found.
“This was to allow time for [regional district] staff to explore other locations for a Recycle BC depot to be established in Houston without disruption in the current system offered at the Bottle Depot,” Derksen wrote.
“Staff’s intentions were to have a new site chosen and the Recycle BC depot program up and running by the end of 2019.”
Accordingly, staff had zeroed in on the old Houston landfill site on Mountain View Drive this spring, developing a plan for a receiving depot and a transfer station.
“The advantages of having one transfer station there is everyone takes their garbage and recycling there. You’re going to get a lot more people buying into recycling…They’ll drop off their recycling products and whatever is left will go in the transfer station,” said regional district official Rory McKenzie at the time the proposal was unveiled.
It could also lower the operation costs of the Knockholt landfill because it wouldn’t have to operate seven days a week, he said.
The Smithers facility fire has also affected recycling in the Smithers and Houston areas with curbside collection in Smithers suspended until a depot can be re-established.
Houston and area recycling options are primarily divided among two locations — the Houston Bottle Depot for its own service as well as that of items accepted by the regional district and the Knockholt landfill.
Beverage containers as well as electronics and small appliances, for example, can be taken to the bottle depot site while large appliances can be taken to the Knockholt location.