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New $1.8-million trash-and-recyclables' pickup plan pitched by CVRD

Regional staffers Jason Adair and Laura Nessman with easy-roll totes touted for the CVRD
Regional staffers Jason Adair and Laura Nessman with easy-roll totes touted for the CVRD's proposed $1.8-million trash-and-recycling system.
— image credit: Courtesy: CVRD

A new $1.8-million trash-and-recyclables pick-up plan is being pitched by the CVRD for its regional areas.

The drive, explained recycling and waste manager Bob McDonald, could see mechanically armed trucks hoist 17,000 easy-roll, curbside totes, holding recyclables and garbage, from homes by June.

Commercial pickup and organics options could be added later, he explained.

The tote-and-truck system would follow a formal alternative approval process to borrow the $1.8 million.

That AAP process stipulates if 10% of CVRD voters reject the proposed system, a referendum about borrowing the cash could be called by the Cowichan Valley Regional District board.

The CVRD's in-house tote and truck system excludes municipal services in Duncan, North Cowichan, and on Cowichan Tribes lands.

Folks would keep their current contracts with private haulers unless they and their area director — in say, Cobble Hill or Shawnigan Lake — decide to opt in to the region's tote-truck plan, McDonald explained.

Homeowners would see yearly savings of $1 to $11.

"Half the region just has CVRD recycling services, and they're on their own for garbage pickup; the other half has CVRD trash and recycling. It depends what level of service the director wants."

He had no savings numbers yet about how the tote-can plan would reduce the CVRD's annual $3-million tab to ship trash to Washington State's Rebanco landfill.

"But it should reduce that cost," McDonald told the News Leader Pictorial.

"When a tote system's used, recycling (volume) rates skyrocket. People currently recycling will increase their recycling by about 30%, and those recyclables will come out of the trash — with less trash going to Rebanco.

"Totes are a popular tool for homeowners. The easier you make it for people, the more they'll participate."

About $700,000 would be saved when CVRD contracts with haulers BFI and Sun Coast expire in June, he added.

Pickup for 12,500-odd homes would see three dual-compartment trucks bought, through bids, to replace the CVRD's current fleet.

Two more drivers would also be hired.

"We're planning to amortize these trucks and totes over 10 to 15 years, but private contracts have a standard five-year limit," he said, noting the CVRD board would have flexible control of the system.

For now, the CVRD is touting — through open houses — awareness about its recycling-trash plan, and the AAP process, before the formal AAP process starts this fall.

"It's a form they sign and submit from our office or online. The board's very sensitive to the AAP, and wants to go out to people so they know exactly what we're proposing."

The AAP would usher a public information drive early next year.

"We don't expect any area directors to go backward. Most people are very happy with existing levels of collection service; if anything they're considering more service in future."

Open houses happen Aug. 29, 7 to 9 p.m., Cowichan Lake Sports Arena, Multipurpose Room; Sept. 5, 7 to 9 p.m., Eagles' Hall, Duncan; Sept. 11, 7 to 9 p.m., Kerry Park Recreation Centre, Denis McLean Room; and Sept. 17, 7 to 9 p.m., North Oyster Community Hall, Upper Room, Ladysmith.

Visit zerowastecowichan.ca/curbside, or call 250-746-2540.

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