The Regional District of Nanaimo’s solid waste services is projecting a $1.1-million reduction in tipping fee revenues this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
That was the message relayed by the solid waste services manager Larry Gardner to the RDN board at its recent committee of the whole meeting.
“As everyone can appreciate, when economy activity slows down, less waste is produced, we get less waste at the landfill, and then less tipping fee revenue,” said Gardner. “This $1.1-million projection was done based on information at the start of April given what’s currently happening in the world and in B.C.”
At the end of April, the RDN solid waste services recorded a four per cent decline in the total waste received compared to the same time last year. Last month alone it was down nine per cent.
Annually, the RDN earns $9.5 million annually from tipping fees on waste received at the landfill. Sixty per cent of the revenue come from commercial, construction and demolition waste production which are expected to be heavily impacted by the pandemic.
Gardner recommended a number of options to offset the anticipated shortfall. He suggested that the board defer expenditures of $390,000 for solid waste programs related to the proposed household hazardous waste collection program, and contribution for research/recycling hub for hard-to-recycle materials to be conducted by the Nanaimor Recycling Exchange. As well, he recommended that board defer $710,ooo from the 2020 budgeted contributions to the Solid Waste Services operating reserve.
The board, however, was not fully convinced with the recommendations. Nanaimo director Ben Geselbracht indicated that they should be discussed further at the Solid Waste Select Committee meeting in June before a decision is made.
Gesselbracht said there’s still time to fully assess the situation and perhaps have a clearer indication of what the shortfall is truly going to be.
The board voted to refer both of Gardner’s recommendation for further discussions next month before it’s presented to the RDN board in June.