In addition to curb side recycling coming to Kimberley this summer, there is also an opportunity for an organic recycling program to be initiated, possibly the following year.
However, Kimberley city council had a few more questions about the operation of this program and therefore deferred a vote on whether to go ahead with a grant application, which is due February 2, 2021. Council will meet ahead of the deadline, at their regular meeting on January 25, and will hopefully have some of their questions answered at that time.
Kimberley has been in discussion with the Regional District of East Kootenay for quite some time on the possibility of organic recycling said Nik Morissette, manager of roads for the city.
Morissette presented the organics program after council unanimously voted to proceed with curbside recycling at the same regular meeting.
However, Morissette explained that, unlike the curbside, this organics program would have costs attached.
While there is a grant available for the bins, it is only a two-thirds share grant and the city would have to pick up the other third. Collection of organics would be weekly, but at the same time garbage collection would go to bi-weekly. There will be savings to garbage fees, but an addition of an organic recycling fee would mean taxpayers would pay $26 per year in additional costs.
Then there is the major cost of an automated truck, approximately $350,000. The positive on the purchase of that is that it is the same model as the current garbage truck and therefore the city would have a back up.
However, council had a lot of questions. There were concerns about asking residents to take on two more large bins — where would they keep them? There were questions about the organics bins attracting wildlife. There were concerns about going to bi-weekly garbage collection. There was also some question as to whether people who currently compost would even use the service, as they need their compost for their gardens. There is no opt out of the service, council was told.
Early on in discussions about the new program, the recycling plant for the organics was going to be in Kimberley, but now it will be located at the Central Regional Substation at Fort Steele.
While council generally supported the program, the number of unanswered questions gave them pause, as did the logistics of trying to launch two new recycling programs in quick succession.
Morissette said that a lot of the questions will be answered as they work through the grant application.
“There are issues that need to be managed,” said Mayor Don McCormick. “Philosophically, it makes sense but we need to consider execution. It’s difficult to gauge success when you have two new programs going together. I’m definitely not in favour of parallel implementation.”
Morissette said the challenge is to work towards reduction of garbage going to the landfill.
In the end, council was more comfortable deferring until their regular meeting January 25, which would still leave time to get the grant application in on February 2. At that time, they hope that Morissette, as he consults with other communities considering the same program, and works through the questions on the application, will be able to address some of the issues raised.