Coun. Maureen Boldt says a proposed $3.6 million recycling facility should be put back on the Engineering and Works Committee agenda as part of a long-term solution for potential waste management problems.
Boldt made her comments a week after committee chairman Coun. Tom Mason rejected a request from the Waste Resources Liaison Committee to consider the plant for 2008.
The request was part of a report presented by David Briggs, chairman of the liaison committee, and the report was filed.
The current Patton Street facility is “falling down, to put it bluntly,” Boldt said.
“And our Merrick Landfill site has a lifespan that’s coming to an end within 10 to 20 years,” Boldt said.
The city’s current public works yard sits on some of the most valuable property in North Bay and will likely have to be moved in the future, Boldt said.
If the land is sold the proceeds could be used to help build a new recycling plant, Boldt said.
“It would be part of a long-range plan, but that doesn’t happen overnight,” Boldt said.
“So we plan ahead, but what we did last week wasn’t planning. We just filed it. That’s not how to deal with it.”
While Mason said the city is committed to improved environmental services, “the harsh reality is that the money’s just not there for this recycling depot.”
The city has to look at the big picture, Mason said, including the future infrastructure needs of the public works department, and whether a recycling facility could be part of a new complex.
“A full study would have to be done including a budget, but to look at this now would be putting the cart before the horse,” Mason said.
Boldt said the city would be able to make more money through enhanced recycling, particularly if blue box use increased in the multi-residential sector.
As well there might be opportunities for a joint recycling venture between the city and Miller Environmental Services, which collects North Bay’s waste.
“Maybe we could get some money from the feds for getting into more recycling, but we have look at the options,” Boldt said, “but we’re not going to do that at this point, we’re not going to do anything, and that’s not right.”
Coun. Mike Anthony said the depot remains a future budgeted line item.
He admits there's always "room for improvement" in the city's waste management program, "but balanced with fiscal responsibility."
Anthony also said the city has stats that show "we are doing a pretty good job of recycling already."
"Can we realistically spend now on this? No," Anthony said.
"We need to look at fixing streets and infrastructure before we look at a major cash infusion into garbage. I'll take fixing roads over garbage anyday, especially when we are already doing an okay job in waste management."