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Neighbours oppose new south-end recycling centre

Neighbours are ramping up opposition to rezoning and potential construction of a new recycling depot in Nanaimo’s south end.

Paul Shorting, general manager of the Regional Recycling depot on Hayes Road, filed an application with the city in December to rezone a one-hectare parcel of land at 1044 and 1048 Old Victoria Rd. from single-family residential to high-tech industrial to permit construction of a new recycling centre.

But neighbours who live across the street from the site worry their once-residential neighbourhood is slowly being converted into an industrial park that could draw traffic noise and other problems of industrial activity.

Concerns include lack of adequate noise buffering for a facility that could operate seven days a week; dangers of added car and truck traffic; a possible rise in crime; that materials on site could attract rodents and stinging insects; lowered property values; effects of industrial activity on salmon runs in the nearby Chase River; accumulation of trash, discarded shopping carts and unpleasant odours, especially during summer months.

A number of light industrial and commercial businesses are strung along the north side of the road between Seventh Street and Mackenzie Road, but Valentina Cardinalli, who lives at 1047 Old Victoria Rd., said neighbours want the impact of industrialization minimized as much as possible.

“It’s not a small, little bottle depot, Cardinalli said. “It’s really big with plans to expand. It’s, like, 10,000 square feet.”

But regardless of what the city allows in the space, residents such as Sandra Laroque, who lives on Haliburton Street, are worried about increased traffic, especially through the Island Highway/Old Victoria Road/Haliburton Street intersection, where they have been calling for the city to install a traffic light after a Jehovah’s Witness hall was constructed on Old Victoria Road.

“They still haven’t done a traffic light and now they want to put in a recycling depot and the amount of traffic in that area is incredible,” she said.

Laroque, whose home is near recycling operations on Eaton Street, said Nanaimo’s south end needs a convenient depot to drop off bottles and discarded household items, but that it should be built away from residences, perhaps on Tenth Street or Maki Road.

“I feel for the people,” Laroque said. “Having a recycling depot like that in your neighbourhood is not good.”

Shorting said his proposal for the new recycling centre is for a collection facility for residential recyclables only and that it will not accept commercial loads, adding there will be no glass crushing or processing of materials at the new site.

“We don’t do any crushing at all,” Shorting said. “We just just package and ship product. It’s identical to what we’re doing at our Hayes Road facility. It’s no commercial loads. It’s just one stop drop for residential and small trades people.”

Shorting said the operation is governed by the Environment Ministry and the city, operates in compliance with regulations and there are no complaints on file against the operation.

The amendment proposal goes before city council for first and second readings Monday (April 14).

To view the rezoning proposal, please visit the City of Nanaimo website at www.nanaimo.ca/WhatsBuilding/Public/Folders.

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