Delegates at the recent Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention have approved an emergency resolution calling for a 90-day delay on a new program that will see industry take charge of dealing with packaging and paper waste.
The move follows concerns from some Lower Mainland mayors and councillors, who told media attending the conference that their taxpayers would end up subsidizing the private collection of paper waste.
Nanaimo is already moving toward entering into in the new system, which is mandated under regulatory changes proposed by the province in 2011. The change will see Multi-Material British Columbia, a non-profit group formed and funded by industry leaders, take responsibility for collecting recyclable paper waste.
The resolution also includes an amendment that would see the province review the proposal and enter into negotiations on the program alongside MMBC and a
Nanaimo Coun. Bill McKay voted for the resolution and also supported a Nanaimo city staff recommendation last month to work towards a three-year agreement with MMBC.
The arrangement between the city and MMBC would see the non-profit group pay the city $900,000 per year to collect paper and packaging waste on behalf of MMBC. Because the city would no longer run its own paper recycling program, residents would see a decrease of $35.25 per year.
MMBC has asked approached other local governments in B.C. about collecting paper and packaging waste on behalf of the organization, or have MMBC select a contractor to do the work instead. The aim is to have the agreement and service in place by May 2014.
City sanitation and recycling manager Gary Franssen said the UBCM resolution should not affect discussions between the city at MMBC.
The city is waiting to receive documents from the non-profit agency so that negotiations can proceed.
Franssen says the proposal is a break-even proposition for the municipality.
"That may very well be in Nanaimo that it's revenue-neutral, but that's not the case in other parts of the province," said McKay in response to concerns raised by other elected officials, including Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore.
"It just happens to be a fit for Nanaimo. But apparently it's not a cookie cutter solution for the rest of the province," he added.
Despite reservations from some municipalities, MMBC said that 85 per cent of municipalities that currently collect packaging or printed paper from the roadside have accepted the curbside incentive.
But MMBC managing director Allen Langdon acknowledged some municipalities still have reservations about the program.
"We understand some local governments may have questions about the collectors' agreement and we intend to sit down with them as soon as possible to discuss their concerns," Langdon said. "Some of these discussions have already begun."
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