Castlegar Councillor expresses disapproval over recycling arrangements

Castlegar City Councillor Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff

Castlegar City Councillor Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff

Castlegar City Councillor Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff remains dissatisfied with the recycling arrangements imposed on May 19 in the wake of the city’s acceptance of the Multi Materials BC (MMBC) program. She hopes a province wide conference in September will echo her concerns.

The councillor spoke on the subject during the regular meeting of July 14, during which the question of how best for the public to recycle plastic shopping bags was pondered by the municipal body.

The highly-publicized switch to the program run by Ontario-based MMBC and embraced by the BC government may have drawn a fair amount of support from municipalities and regional districts across the province, but Heaton-Sherstobitoff and other council members don’t seem so sold now.

“The money we said a few months ago that we’d be saving because we’re getting an incentive back from the government, we’ve had to use that now for a contract to pick up glass. So it’s not a saving to the people,” she had complained as far back as May 20, one day into the MMBC program.

Heaton-Sherstobitoff expressed the worry that if any part of a recycling program presents inconvenience, people may revert to just tossing everything in the garbage.

It had been decided back then for the City to express concerns in a letter to MMBC, and that decision was reinforced at the July 14 meeting, even in light of a response having been received from MMBC. The response, according to the councillor expressed no willingness to reconsider its position… to consider possible changes.

Heaton-Sherstobitoff elaborated at the council meeting’s conclusion, suggesting many other jurisdictions are likely to have recycling-related concerns similar to Castlegar’s.

“The letter we received from them late last week will go back to the Green Committee and they’ll come up with a recommendation. I’m hoping it’ll be to send another letter to MMBC saying we’re not happy. We’ve gone backwards. The way we did it before was so convenient. We put everything in a bag and they recycled everything.”

It is the councillor’s hope and expectation that the issue comes up early at September’s Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) convention.

“I hope there is some kind of motion on the floor,” she said, “to go back to MMBC and say, ‘Look, it’s not working for all these communities.’”