Our take: North end’s new ‘ECO Depot’ gets a big thumbs up

We — like 90% of the people in the valley — have absolutely no interest in resurrecting the nasty business that was the South Cowichan ECO Depot in any way shape or form.

But one thing that seemed clear throughout that mess is that the CVRD is still committed to creating some kind of south-end waste recycling/transfer centre and that the people generally favour the idea, so long as it is in the right spot.

If and when the search for that spot returns to the priority list, everyone involved needs to do one thing before saying a word: take a trip to Ladysmith.

Last week, the Cowichan Valley Regional District quietly re-opened the Peerless Road Recycling Drop-off Depot — essentially, a north-end ECO Depot — after a $4 million renovation. We checked it out on the weekend and were thoroughly impressed.

Well-organized, easy-to-navigate, user-friendly and impressively clean, the site almost makes waste drop-off a pleasant experience. Dual weight scales speed up the process, 21 tipping bays sit below truck level, making for easy unloading, and the site is divided into clearly marked zones — one for free drop-off, the other for paid.

Everything is flat, paved and easy to manoeuvre around. The facility revolves around an attractive West Coast-style drop-off centre for more sensitive recyclables like lights and batteries.

“What we were trying to create was almost a very user-friendly, Granville Island market where people can wander in and drop off items, and they’re all free,” said CVRD waste manager Bob McDonald. “We wanted to make it a very user-friendly experience.”

Well Bob, consider it mission accomplished.

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