Through this campaign we have demonstrated the overwhelming community support for the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange. Ask a data analyst and they will tell you, any organization, business or individual seeking office would drool for these kind of numbers. The NRE has “social license” – they have earned the respect of the community and are treated as a valued member of it.
This is why the political foot dragging and ball tossing by our local governments documented in this timeline is frankly baffling to us and the thousands of people we’ve heard from. One of the most common remarks is, “This is a no-brainer!”
People are angry and frustrated. They cannot understand how we got to the point where this valued service provider is on the verge of being forced to shut down. We created this timeline to help answer that question.
We’ve written about the aggressive lobbying against the NRE by the for profit recyclers. We’ve heard local politicians echo their talking points. Rumours have been spread to tarnish the NRE’s reputation, an easy thing to do in the age of social media.
One of the common criticisms we’ve heard during the course of this campaign goes something like this: “Why did the NRE wait so long to do something about their situation? Why haven’t they been more proactive?”
Let’s debunk that notion once and for all. We hope you find this timeline illuminating. Whatever happens at the council meeting on Monday March 12th, we urge you to remember what happened before.
NRE in discussions with City of Nanaimo about need to relocate
City and RDN involved in approval of NRE site design adaptation to new bylaws for recycling depots and solid waste regulations. City senior managers suggest City of Nanaimo build new recycling depot for NRE to operate based on recycling services provided to City.
OCT 10 – Development Permit Application No. DP000751 (2491 Kenworth Road)
At the meeting of the Design Advisory Panel – Permit application DP000751 – 2491 Kenworth Road – from Jan Hastings on behalf of Windhover Enterprises Ltd, for the development of a full service recycling and environmental education centre. It was moved and seconded that DP000751 be accepted as presented.
JAN 28 – Funding request for new recycling centre presented to the Regional District of Nanaimo board of directors
FEB 14 – RDN staff report recommends, “That the Board deny the funding request as presented by the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange at this time.”
FEB 25 – NRE funding options referred back to RDN staff by Board of Directors
RDN sub-committee recommends NRE explore other options
RDN sub-committee recommends NRE explore other options, including a cheaper build, partnership with a private recycling corporation to build and lease space to the NRE, or finding a developer to build and lease space to the NRE.
Newly elected city council votes NO to making land available to the NRE
In November 2014 the newly elected city council holds an in-camera meeting for NRE presentation on costs of Zero Waste recycling and need for new facility. The NRE would fund construction of a facility if city land was made available. Council voted NO to making land available to the NRE.
NRE consults architects and engineers
NRE consults architects and engineers to explore cheaper design options. City bylaw requirements on structures and strict site requirements for recycling depots eliminate this option.
NRE looks at partnership with private sector recycler
NRE explores the idea of leasing a facility built by a private sector recycler. Private sector investment requires return on investment. Lease costs would be too high for the NRE.
NRE explores build to lease arrangement with private developer
Private development requires return on investment. Projected lease costs too high for the NRE.
Significant time and NRE resources lost exploring alternative designs and construction options.
After exhausting other options, NRE continues efforts to fund construction
NRE explores the feasibility of funding a new facility from NRE operations. The new building designed to fit NRE’s budget is a shell: unheated, uncooled, unfinished. Due to strict regulations for recycling facilities, site costs come in at 40% of the construction budget and once again put construction out of range for NRE.
Nanaimo Recycling Exchange: “It is fair to say that each entity has suggested the other pay; meanwhile, the NRE has been funding recycling services.”
NRE sends letters to Nanaimo City Council and the Regional District board of directors informing them that the NRE’s lease will expire on March 31, 2018. “The NRE respectfully request your renewed attention to the future of Nanaimo Recycling Exchange, and we request a date and time to meet to discuss a solution.”
Vancouver Island Recycling and Waste Industry Coalition: “We request that City of Nanaimo stop subsidizing the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange”
“The Nanaimo Recycling Exchange is at a crisis point and is in jeopardy of being shut down.”
LANTZVILLE COMMUNITY NEWS – The Nanaimo Recycling Exchange needs HELP
SEPT 18 – Council requests staff report regarding the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange initiative: “We’ve been having this discussion for four years.”
OCT 3 – Recycling Exchange delegation to the Regional District of Nanaimo Board of Directors
Jan Hastings provided the Board with an update on the future of the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange and asked the Board to consider entering into discussions with Nanaimo Recycling Exchange to secure a location for their facility to enable them to continue advancing the Region’s target of 90% waste diversion.