A host of waste-disposal and recycling concerns were brought to the table Thursday as the TNRD board enacted a solid-waste management bylaw.
People at rural stations were in the habit of recycling unwanted goods left behind, said Tim Pennell, area director for Wells Gray Country. With changes to the stations, they can no longer recycle that way.
While drop-and-shop provisions are made at the larger eco-depots, the district doesn’t want people going into the stations. That policy stems from a liability risk stemming from the City of Kamloops’ Mission Flats landfill. A man who lost his leg after falling into a dumpster successfully sued the City for $1 million three years ago.
“They can drop off items (for recycling) on the diversion side of the larger facilities,” said Peter Hughes, director of environmental services. “Yes, we don’t want people going into the bins.”
Jessoa Lightfoot, area director for Lytton, suggested new station attendants should be provided with some discretionary powers to work with the public.
The district is looking at the possibility of having non-profit agencies manage the drop-and-shop service at larger stations. Mayor Peter Milobar told them that was tried already in Kamloops, where the drop-and-shop program was dropped after the lawsuit.
“We can’t find any in Kamloops,” Milobar said. “They can’t make this work.”
Liability concerns also come into play in the design of safety gates around the bins. Chris O’Connor, a former TNRD director from Lytton, complained in a letter that he has to hoist heavy waste over the five-foot gates.
“Do not further reinforce our society’s perpetual movement down the road of risk adversity,” O’Connor wrote. Other rural residents have complained as well.
“The reality is, the legal case against the City of Kamloops has forced all regional districts to take a look at this,” Hughes said. “They’re all going down the same road. It’s a case of balancing liability for the board and convenience for the user.”
Bulk agricultural waste was also brought up. Ronaye Elliott, director for Copper Desert Country, said she represents some of the largest ranches in the province and they’re prohibited from using the rural stations.
Hughes said he has contacted CleanFARMS, an Ontario company that specializes in managing farm waste. The company is already studying options for managing agricultural packaging waste in B.C. since the government plans to proceed with new rules that require all packaging material to be responsibly recycled.
Currently, there are few if any options for recycling farm waste products in B.C., including cardboard, seed and fertilizer bags, twine and net wrap, silage and hay-bale wrap. New regulations are expected to take effect in two years’ time.
“It’s in the works, the stewards are looking at it, and they’re looking for solutions,” Hughes said.