Burnaby and other cities across the region that expressed concerns over the new recycling contract with Multi-Material B.C. now have more time to adjust.
On Sept. 13, the industry-led, non-profit recycling organization announced it’s giving local governments additional time to consider its financial incentive offer.
“We have received feedback from some local governments that they require further time to consider our offer,” said Allen Langdon, Multi-Material B.C.’s managing director, in a media release. “As a result, we will continue discussions with these local governments in order that they could become part of (Multi-Material B.C.’s) program at a later date.”
Although the Sept. 16 deadline to sign the contract did not change, municipalities can continue to negotiate with Multi-Material B.C. – which is what Burnaby is currently doing.
“We look forward to continued discussions with local governments in the interests of establishing an efficient and cost-effective packaging and printed paper recycling program for British Columbia,” Langdon said. “Ultimately, the purpose of (Multi-Material B.C.’s) program is to shift the costs of recycling these materials from local taxpayers to industry.”
At the Sept. 9 meeting, Burnaby council decided to write to Mary Polak, environment minister, and Coralee Oakes, minister of community, sport and cultural development, to postpone the Sept. 16 deadline to sign a contract with Multi-Material B.C.
Burnaby council also decided to notify Multi-Material B.C. of its “qualified acceptance” for the new contract, but would not speak on specifics of what the qualifications were as it could run into legal issues.
“When you see right across the region, municipality after municipality rejecting the terms of this contract – not the concept of product stewardship, but rejecting the contract because it’s so one-sided that no city in good conscience can sign it – I think that’s a serious problem, and we need to put pressure on the appropriate ministers that someone has to come to the table and negotiate a contract that the municipalities can live with and this one is not it,” said Mayor Derek Corrigan at the Sept. 9 meeting.
The new contract lets municipalities choose to let Multi-Material B.C. take on their recycling operations or allows them to continue running their own recycling programs as a contractor. The problem is, cities are concerned the new organization won’t meet the same level of service currently offered – and rates offered to cities that continue the service will not be enough to recover costs.
“I mean, it’s a dog’s breakfast, and we need to get that resolved and to look at the advice received by every city across the region being that you can’t sign this contract,” Corrigan said at the time.
B.C. Ministry of Environment spokesperson David Karn said the province has heard the concerns of both the business community and local governments about the financial implications of Multi-Material B.C.’s proposed curbside collection program.
“The Ministry of Environment has also had discussions with (Multi-Material B.C.), and asked that they re-engage with their stakeholders to address their respective concerns,” Karn said in an emailed statement. “(Multi-Material) is carrying out those conversations, and the ministry is closely monitoring this process.”
Leon Gous, Burnaby’s director of engineering, did not return the Burnaby NOW’s comment request by press deadline.
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