Owner of Parksville Bottle Depot says creation of a recycling facility should be a priority

The owner of the Parksville Bottle Depot wants residents to rally behind his plan to build a state-of-the-art recycling depot in Parksville Qualicum Beach area.

The region has been without a recycling depot for three years. Major Rai said there still no immediate solution to re-establish one.

“The enthusiasm for recycling in the community is unreal,” said Rai. “From the feedback and the comments from the local residents, we realized that they want their recycling for all the materials in the area.”

Rai has proposed to build a carbon-neutral new recycling facility on the huge vacant lot adjacent to the Parksville Bottle Depot.

“It’s very important for residents in Parksville Qualicum Beach and neighbouring communities,” said Rai.

“They know that an item is recyclable but they don’t have the convenience of recycling it and are sometimes forced to throw them in the garbage. And everytime they make that kind of decision, they should phone the mayor or councillor or elected officials and tell them, ‘when are you going to bring recycling back’ because it’s already been three years. ‘How much longer is it going to be?’”

Since the recycling depot was halted in 2019, residents must travel to Nanaimo or the Comox Valley recycling depots to dispose their recyclables. And many, particularly senior citizens, find the drive to both depots to be a significant inconvenience.

Some are simply resigned to just adding their recyclables with their regular waste, which could go against the RDN’s Solid Waste Management Plan of 90 per cent diversion by 2029. RDN’s manager of solid waste services Ben Routledge agreed the need to provide residents with easy access to recycling systems is “critical” in increasing waste diversion.

“The RDN is keenly aware of the gap in services caused by the end of Recycle BC services in the area,” said Routledge. “The RDN has been in continuous communication with Recycle BC, urging them to restore their services to the area. Further, the RDN board, recognizing the importance of restoring services, has sent numerous letters to Recycle BC and the province seeking a solution. However, it does remain up to the private sector to also engage with Recycle BC in order to see the service restored.”

Recycle BC has indicated they are mandated to provide a depot within 45 minutes, which the Nanaimo and Comox Valley depot achieves.

“They have not provided any additional information or alternative solutions,” said Rai.

Parksville Mayor Doug O’Brien said they’re aware of Rai’s proposal and are aiming to work the RDN to reach a solution for the Parksville Qualicum Beach area.

“The recycling structure is rather complex, with many stakeholders and funding providers which creates many challenges,” said O’Brien. “The good news is that we are moving forward.”

O’Brien said it’s still early to release any more information and he hopes things will develop more by February.

Rai indicated the current Parksville Bottle Depot is already operating at maximum capacity and will need to expand to accommodate more items in the future. Aside from bottles and cans, it also take in items such as appliances, electronic, scrap metal, used oil, paint, cardboard and other electronics.

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