Ilan Goldenblatt, Vote Yes for NRE campaign manager, made a presentation to the Regional District of Nanaimo Tuesday afternoon. (KARL YU/News Bulletin)

Recycling exchange’s future still cloudy after presentations to city, region

Regional District of Nanaimo says staff report related to NRE forthcoming

The fate of the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange is still uncertain less than two months before its lease expires March 31.

The non-profit society seeks a new building on land it owns adjacent to its Kenworth Road location, and members of Vote Yes NRE, a grassroots group advocating for a new facility, made a presentation to the Regional District of Nanaimo Tuesday. The board didn’t render a decision.

At the meeting, Bill Veenhof, board chairman, said the district recognized the exchange is a “valuable resource to the larger Nanaimo community,” but doesn’t expect the RDN will fund or manage any interim solutions coming about from any relocation. Veenhof anticipated a formal report would come out in the next month, although it would be in camera.

“It’s important to understand that the RDN staff have been working with staff at the City of Nanaimo and the NRE to develop details around the request that we’ve got in front of us right now and we’ve retained experts to examine the NRE and what potential solutions we can arrive at. So this requires financial and legal due diligence, so our conversations on this remain in camera at this point,” Veenhof told an NRE contingent at the meeting.

Veenhof also said staff recognize the urgency of the situation and is working as quickly as possible.

Jan Hastings, recycling exchange executive director, said she has provided operational and financial information to the RDN. She said she couldn’t comment on the cost of the project, as it would be in the report and the board should be the first to see that.

“It’s a very specific protocol and process for the RDN and the directors in there all know that and you heard chair Veenhof explain that some of it will be in camera and that’s just to protect all parties. It’s just the way the process is, so I must respect that,” Hastings told the News Bulletin.

The exchange also made a presentation to city council this week, on Monday evening. Ilan Goldenblatt, Vote Yes NRE campaign manager, told councillors that his group has received thousands of postcards, e-mails and letters of support from NRE users from all walks of life.

“The NRE user base is probably one of the most diverse user bases of any single service in our city,” he said. “North Nanaimoites and south Nanaimoites show up regularly. Rich, poor and everyone in between and the unifying element between these people is that they are all worried they will lose the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange.”

The campaign will continue until at least Jan. 23, when the RDN regular board meeting takes place, Goldenblatt said.

As of Tuesday, the campaign has received 3,000 postcards voicing support, Goldenblatt said.

– With files from Nicholas Pescod

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