Nanaimo Recycling Exchange has issued a response to Friday’s announcement from the RDN regarding money for a new facility. (News Bulletin file)

NRE optimistic about future, will ask city for money

Nanaimo Recycling Exchange facing March 31 lease expiry

Nanaimo Recycling Exchange is optimistic it will be able to continue accepting recyclables and non-recyclables near its current Kenworth Road location.

The exchange is hurtling toward a March 31 lease expiry and requested the RDN purchase adjacent land and build a facility to be operated by the exchange. However, the regional district opted instead for preliminary support in the form of $300,000 a year for five years via a pilot project. Jan Hastings, exchange executive director, said her organization is pleased with RDN support, but will need more money. The NRE will go before City of Nanaimo council Monday, Feb. 26, seeking $200,000 annually, and also plans to raise $100,000 a year through a membership drive.

Waste collection is handled by contractors, but with the city transitioning to automated garbage collection, Bill McKay, Nanaimo mayor and RDN director, said there may be money available. The city and regional district need to do something in order to achieve a 90-per cent waste diversion goal and this is a step in the right direction, he said.

“Certainly council needs to discuss it,” said McKay. “We receive $900,000 a year in funding from Recycle B.C. (formerly Multi-Material B.C.). That’s what they pay us to pick up our curbside recycling. I would hope, by the time the smoke clears, that we’ll see a cost to do that, when we start picking up our own recycling at the curb, as we’re doing with the automated program, that we’ll be hopefully down to about $500,000 a year, so I can’t see any reason why we can’t take that $500,000 … and put it towards assisting in recycling efforts, particularly with the NRE.”

Hastings said details about the membership drive, such as fees, are still in the works, but it is something the exchange had always planned.

“It’s a great way for people who believe in the NRE to be part of what we do and to be a member and have some say also in the future direction of the NRE,” she said.

Should the exchange fail to secure money, it would have to completely shut down, said Hastings. She has searched for alternative sites, to no avail.

“I’ve been all over this town looking for alternate locations,” said Hastings. “It all comes down to the fact that all the leases are even more than the mortgage, they’re more than the NRE can afford to pay.”

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