The Nanaimo Recycling Exchange has closed its gates.
The NRE did not open as usual this morning, March 21, and will spend the rest of the month preparing for site demolition.
“It just wasn’t highly publicized because we had to avoid having a huge rush of people dropping everything off,” said Ben Geselbracht, vice-chairman of the NRE. “That would have made it really difficult to keep to the timelines. We’re basically now moving everything off-site for the next nine days and the demolition starts April 1.”
The lease is about to expire at the current Kenworth Road site and although the NRE owns property next door, it can’t afford to build a new facility there. It had asked both the City of Nanaimo and the Nanaimo Regional District to build a facility, but the RDN denied the request, offering $300,000 per year instead. This month the NRE asked for $6.05 million from the City of Nanaimo to cover construction of a new building and the request was referred to staff to look into funding options.
Through those processes, the NRE ran out of time.
“Hopefully it’s a temporary closure. Nothing’s changed on that front,” said Geselbracht. “We’re working hard putting together the information they requested and going ahead with that process of looking for that funding to build a facility.”
He said NRE staff have been aware of the March 31 shutdown for some time, and will continue to work until then on clearing the site.
Charlotte Davis, the City of Nanaimo’s manager of sanitation, recycling and public works, said the city and the depot were in communication, though as of earlier this week, the city hadn’t been given an exact shut-down date. The city posted the closure announcement on its Facebook page on Tuesday.
Davis anticipates a few consequences of the depot’s closure and is concerned that waste that was previously recycled at the NRE will go into the garbage.
“I’m not sure that we’ll see bins suddenly full or overflowing, but it could definitely be an increase both to what’s going to landfill and to increased contamination in our recycling…” she said. “The other concern I would have would be about illegal dumping and that increasing, as well.”
She said the city will work on public education for residents, “to let them know what is recyclable in our community, at which depots and where they can take it now the NRE is closing.”
Recycling information is available on the Regional District of Nanaimo website at this link.