A new Nanaimo Recycling Exchange will be larger, safer and cleaner, according to executive director Jan Hastings.
Designs were revealed on Wednesday for a new recycling depot on Kenworth Road as Nanaimo-area politicians and staff toured the recycling exchange and its future home.
The tour comes after an appeal to local government last month by the non-profit, which faces closure in eight months without aid. Its lease is set to expire next March and while it has property next door, it finds its construction budget unmanageable.
NRE also has challenges with its current site, such as congestion, safety of employees and deterioration to such a point that the facility is no longer secure. Hastings said there’s theft nightly.
The idea behind the design for the new depot was to be innovative and ask what can be done that’s quiet, clean and to make the exchange a pleasant and safe place for staff, says Hastings, who also said the depot will handle more customers, more vehicles and it’s anticipated there will be better learning and working opportunities. Material will be secure and contained, the market will be twice the size with space for repairs, and for safety reasons, commercial and residential traffic and trucks coming to pick up product will be separated.
Costs were not available for the building, but Hastings expects it will be in a Nanaimo city staff report this month.
Bob Colclough, a Lantzville councillor and RDN director on the tour, said there’s no question NRE provides a very valuable service and a solution needs to be found.
There’s an average of 550 cars going through NRE in the summer and 329 in the winter.
“As of next March when the lease is up that’s going to end, there’s going to be a lot of people showing up here and not being able to drop off their materials and where is it going to go?” Colclough asked, adding it will likely end up in the landfill and landfill space is expensive to replace once it’s used for materials that don’t need to go there.
Nanaimo city councillor Ian Thorpe, also vice-chairman of the RDN board, said he was very impressed with plans for the building and thinks it’s reasonably simple, yet looks very efficient and will improve the centre’s ability to provide service. He thinks the regional district and city have a role to play in the recycling exchange, the concept of recycling and heading toward zero waste, he said, but not knowing what the financial ask will be, couldn’t comment further.
“I’m really looking forward to a staff report and I am looking at ways that the City of Nanaimo and regional district can do what they can to help this facility and a very worthwhile endeavour,” he said.