One of the RDEK’s Reuse Centres. (File photo)

One of the RDEK’s Reuse Centres. (File photo)

RDEK shutters Reuse Centres, cites need to maintain essential services

Staff are at too high a risk from people not following social distancing or public masking measures

The six Reuse Centres across the Regional District of East Kootenay’s transfer stations and landfills have been temporarily closed, with the regional district saying that the closure is needed to ensure they can maintain essential services.

“We have increasingly been dealing with higher numbers of people in the confined space of the Reuse Centres who are not following social distancing and public masking measures,” said RDEK manager of environmental services Kevin Paterson.

“To provide a layer of protection for our staff and ensure the sites are able to remain fully open, and at the request of our contractor, the decision has been made to temporarily close the Reuse Centres.”

According to the RDEK release, transfer stations and landfills remain open and operational, with only Reuse Centres shuttered.

The Reuse Centres are small sheds at each staffed transfer station where people can drop off items in good conditions that can be picked up by others and given a new lease on life.

Paterson said that maintaining essential services was top propriety, so closure of the Reuse Centres was vital for keeping staff safe from exposure to COVID-19.

Municipalities around the East Kootenays and British Columbia have been hit hard by COVID-19 cases, with Fernie and Cranbrook warning of reduced services, and Sparwood noting a spike in incurred overtime.

When the Reuse Centres will reopen for public use has not been announced.

READ MORE: COVID-19 brings ‘significant challenges’ for City of Fernie in staffing
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