A photo of the Smithers recycling depot on fire shortly after 11 a.m. on May 9. (Thom Barker photo)

Smithers student wants solution to recycling moratorium

Smithers and Telkwa suspended curbside recycling following a May 9 fire that destroyed the depot

  • Nov. 20, 2019 12:00 a.m.

One Smithers student is asking Smithers Town Council for answers regarding a May 9 fire that destroyed the town’s recycling depot.

Jennifer Boone is a student at Bulkley Valley Christian School.

At council’s Nov. 12 meeting they received a letter from Boone inquiring about the status of the recycling depot’s replacement.

She said she feels the Town’s current short-term solution — asking residents to either throw out their recycling or take it to the Smithers/Telkwa Transfer Station (STTS) — is time consuming and a big headache for many residents.

READ MORE: Smithers recycling depot ablaze

“Due to this process I fear many people are no longer recycling, and instead they choose the much easier way of getting rid of their products: by throwing everything in the trash,” Boone said.

“It is a huge waste to have our recyclables being burned in landfills, where they release toxins into the atmosphere. I feel it defeats the whole purpose of reduce-reuse-recycle and brings us back to square one of managing our plastic consumption,” she added.

Boone also pointed out that because the STTS only takes houshold recycling it presents unique challenges to schools and businesses in the interim.

Boone said she wants to know what council is doing to address the issue and fix the town’s recycling problem.

READ MORE: Transfer station experiences uptick in usage after Smithers, Telkwa suspend curbside recycling

“Will there be a new depot built, and if so, when? It is a subject that deeply concerns me, as I am very passionate about this,” she said.

Boone acknowledged the problem could be a “several-year process” to fix but said she hopes this isn’t due to a lack of funds.

“I hope that it is not a barrier in the council’s plans for better recycling,” said Boone, adding she feels a call to raise funds locally could help lower the cost.

For council’s part, they acknowledged Boone’s sentiment, with Coun. Frank Wray saying he feels it’s time to hold Recycle BC to account.

“I feel that it’s their responsibility,” Wray said. “I would even be reluctant to support the [regional district] providing capital money. They had a contract with us to provide the north recycling, they were to collect it and bail it. It’s unfortunate that the bailing facility burnt down, but that is a Recycle BC problem in my opinion.”

“I’m sure there could have been a temporary solution found by now. I don’t know what it is but we’ve been a long time without recycling.”


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