Have we killed the goose?

Ron Bolin: June 28, 2012

At the Public Hearing this evening at the Shaw Auditorium (which unfortunately will not be either broadcast or captured on video) Council decided to approve a rezoning application which will put a private recycling venture immediately across the street from and in competition with the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange which has operated as a volunteer supported venture for many years and has one of the best recycling records in the Province.  The rezoning was to allow the new venture to expand from its bottle depot operation to a recycling centre which will now begin to accept all those materials which are profitable to recycle.

While there was some passionate defense of our existing centre from citizens and some question about its location next to the existing volunteer facility, Council responded that they could not take personal views into consideration.  I submit, however, that the issue at hand was not one of personal views on competition, but rather the matter of overall benefit to the community.  This is the responsibility of Council and this issue was absent from the discussion.

If one believes that setting in motion a sequence of events which will almost inevitably see a reduction, perhaps a sizable reduction, in the income generating materials available to the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange, then the right decision was made.  But this, in turn, can be expected to lead to either the abandonment of the project or the need for additional funds from the City to maintain the recycling of the many non-profitable materials which they currently accept.  Neither of these choices is of benefit to the community as a whole.

Where are these unwanted materials to go if the exchange is gone?  Nanaimo has had an outstanding record in recycling.  Have we killed the goose?  Or will it just cost us more in taxes to make up for the profits made by the new and neighbouring recycling facility and the corresponding loses to our long time leaders in recycling?