A grassroots campaign has begun to keep Nanaimo Recycling Exchange open.
The facility – which accepts recyclables, including Styrofoam and plastic bags, which aren’t collected with curbside recycling – is in danger of closing for good. A lease with Toyota for its current Kenworth Road site is set to expire in March, and the exchange is seeking assistance from local government to construct a new facility on land it owns adjacent to its current location.
A Vote Yes for a new Nanaimo Recycling Exchange website went live Dec. 14 and aims to mobilize people to write politicians and garner support. With the exchange’s status uncertain, Ilan Goldenblatt, a campaign manager, said concerned people have decided to go straight to the electorate and give them avenues to express their support.
While Vote Yes NRE is run by people in the community, the exchange has set aside funds to cover costs of the campaign, according to Jan Hastings, NRE executive director. People were inquiring daily about the depot’s fate and how to keep it open and while there was nothing organized initially, the board didn’t want people to use their own resources if a campaign started up, she said.
As of Friday afternoon, Goldenblatt estimated 250 signatures had been collected.
- RELATED: City will ask regional district to partner with recycling exchange
- RELATED: Nanaimo Recycling Exchange’s existence in question
“Since last night, just in organic sharing on Facebook, like no paid advertising, no nothing, since last night at 8:30 p.m., we’ve received a few hundred signatures online … myself and other volunteers are basically planning to be at the NRE with postcards that allow people to sign the postcard with their name and address and put a couple of sentences why the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange is important to them,” said Goldenblatt, adding that postcards will be hand delivered to politicians.
In October, the City of Nanaimo referred a request for assistance to the Regional District of Nanaimo, whose board voted to continue consideration of the exchange’s request, with the intent of having future meetings on the matter. In an e-mail, Lisa Moilanen, regional district spokeswoman, said there are no updates regarding the exchange.
Hastings said discussions are ongoing and the last meeting was a “couple of weeks ago.” RDN staff are working “full on” preparing a report for directors, although she doesn’t know when it will be complete.
“We’re not asking for operational money, we’re not looking for a handout,” said Hastings. “We just need a facility so we can meet the zero waste targets for the next 10 to 20 years … We can’t afford to build it. We tried, but the site costs are really high and you put the site costs together with the cost of the building itself and the number just got too high and so the NRE has been performing a public service for a long time, it’s just appropriate that we ask for a partnership and ask for some public funding to be applied to zero waste recycling.”
When asked about the cost, Hastings said it would be in the report and the board should be the first to see that.