The threat of heavy penalties has the Village of Chase asking for further meetings with the province before agreeing to a contract with a provincewide-recycling program.
Chase CAO Joni Heinrich said Multi-Material B.C. (MMBC) proposes fines of $5,000 a day if a community’s curbside recycling program fails to deliver material to a designated location as scheduled.
She said it doesn’t matter if a garbage truck breaks down — which happened in Chase last week — or there’s a strike, the non-profit can issue the fine.
Fines can also be imposed if paper, cardboard boxes or plastic containers are dirty or contaminated, said Heinrich.
“It’s a very one-sided contract and a lot of small municipalities are concerned,” Heinrich told The Daily News.
The appeal is Multi-Material B.C. will compensate municipalities for the curbside service. Heinrich said Chase would receive about $30 a household to collect and deliver recyclables to an MMBC site — a total of about $30,000 a year.
However, it wouldn’t take long for those $5,000 fines to add up, she said.
Chase council decided Tuesday not to accept the contract as proposed. Councillors will set up a meeting with staff from the Ministry of Environment at next month’s Union of B.C. Municipalities conference to discuss their concerns with the MMBC proposal.
Heinrich said the MMBC contract won’t be implemented until May 2014, so there’s time to negotiate. This is good, as she knows of other communities and regional districts with concerns.
Multi-Material was formed after the province developed new regulations under the Waste Management Act that put responsibility on the producers of materials such as packaged and paper products.
“If there’s a company that produces, say, paper that people use for newspapers, they (the province) want that company to be responsible for not only creating the paper but seeing it through to its life-cycle end,” said Heinrich.
While the intent is noble, work needs to be done to make the program fair for all. Jamie Vieira, the Thompson-Nicola Regional District’s environmental services supervisor, expects the MMBC contract will be a topic of discussion at a future board meeting.
Viera pointed out the proposal is still in its early stage and a lot can change.
“There’s so many unanswered questions, it’s hard to know which way things will go,” he said.
In the big picture, everyone supports the stewardship plan because it takes responsibility from the taxpayers and puts it on the producers and consumers of the material, said Viera.