B.C. municipalities, including Richmond, are balking at signing a deal that would hand over control of their blue box collection system to a provincially regulated agency, saying the move will cost them more in the long run.
Municipalities had until Monday to sign a deal with Multi-Materials BC, an industry stewardship group consisting of major retailers and producers that is expected to take responsibility for curbside collection of recycled paper and packaging in B.C. by May 2014.
Municipalities that didn't sign up for the new province-wide blue box collection system, however, will be able to participate at a later date, the head of the new provincially-regulated agency said Monday.
Allen Langdon, managing director of Multi-Materials B.C., said his agency will continue to meet and discuss with any municipality that didn't meet Monday's sign-on deadline.
The move, approved by the province last year, is aimed at having industry pay for the costs of recycling paper and packaging products across the province.
Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie said while mayors support the principles of B.C.'s stewardship program, they feel they are getting a raw deal.
Mayors argue they would receive less money under the incentive plan than it would cost to run the existing program, plus any savings would be swallowed up by heavy penalties, as MMBC is proposing to levy $5,000 fines for each truckload of recyclables in which three per cent or more is contaminated with other materials.
Brodie said he is also concerned that MMBC would be able to unilaterally change the contract. "If it's really a one-sided onerous contract, we're not in a position to accept it," he said. "You want a partnership, as opposed to one party laying down the law and the other party having to comply with it."
"It's very challenging to see, under that contract, how our residents and businesses would get the kind of service levels they expect," said Vancouver Coun. Andrea Reimer.
"The thing that got lost in contract, the whole point with producer responsibility, is that it puts pressure upstream on producers to reduce the amount they're producing.
"But we were told by MMBC that was not their intention."
Under the deal, MMBC has promised municipalities can run their own blue box systems as contractors that would receive a financial incentive.
If they don't want this, there are two other options: MMBC will take over all curbside pickup, or municipalities can continue to run their blue box programs with no compensation from MMBC.
Coquitlam and Prince George have already rejected the contract with the financial incentives.. For the full story, go to www.vancouversun.com.
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