Hello, here we are on the warm side of the solstice, immersed in the delight of long days and extended evenings. This Director’s Report focuses on solid waste, aka garbage and recycling. These things are inevitable facts of life: while we can work to minimize our output, there will still be solid waste.

The Quadra Island Solid Waste Curbside Collection Study has been released. This follows the November 2023 ‘Residential Waste Collection Options on Quadra’. This latest report is eleven pages. Here are some highlights:

  • “Quadra Island currently lacks SRD-managed solid waste collection, and residents have no on-island options for household solid waste disposal. Private collectors have operated on the island for decades, primarily serving residents on paved roads. However, recent changes in service delivery by the main waste collection contractor…have diminished resident satisfaction with available options.
  • “No existing service providers were willing or capable of serving the entire island. Notable barriers included the time commitment for Vancouver Island contractors to ferry to Quadra and the large numbers (32%) of residents living on gravel roads. Although various alternatives could be further explored, all options would benefit from a local disposal area, such as a waste transfer station.
  • “Cortes Island and the Sayward Valley receive curbside collection through an SRD-managed service. Several SRD member municipalities (Campbell River, Gold River, & Village of Sayward) provide curbside collection for residents. The Village of Zeballos and Kyuquot have dumpsters available for residents to dispose of solid waste. These communities all benefit from organized disposal options funded through Comox Strathcona Waste Management (CSWM), thereby reducing the cost-of-service provision, whether managed by local governments or the private sector.
  • “However, Quadra Island does not currently benefit from the convenience of a landfill, waste transfer station, or CSWM-organized waste drop-off locations, and the current recycling facility in Quadra presents several challenges. The unstaffed area, consisting of several dumpsters…is prone to contamination from non-recyclable materials and overflowing bins.”

Peruse the whole report here: bit.ly/QI-waste-collection-study

Next steps
The SRD Board has supported three further explorations: exploring a waste collection partnership model with the We Wai Kai First Nation; preparing a request for proposal to identify costs to start a local waste collection business, the results of which would be brought to the community for feedback and interest level; and advocating for a waste transfer station on Quadra Island, to be provided by the CSWM Service.

A transfer station “could offer residents a convenient and cost-effective self-hauling option and improve the climate for additional private haulers to offer services” according to the report.

Advocating for a Quadra Island transfer station is ongoing: some months ago, the SRD Board supported advocating with CSWM for a waste transfer station on Quadra Island. This came to the CSWM Board June 18, where CSWM staff indicated that they will be listening to the community during upcoming engagement to determine if this is something which is of interest to the community.

Chance for you to weigh in!
Every ten years the CSWM Service is mandated to renew the Solid Waste Management Plan. This process is currently underway and includes community engagement across the service area, spanning from Hornby Island to Kyuquot. Islanders have a chance to share their thoughts on Solid Waste Priorities for the next ten years: July 19th, 2-5pm in front of Aroma Café. Members of CSWM staff will be there to hear your priorities. Please stop by and share your solid waste thoughts! You can also learn more & fill out a survey here: cswm.ca/swmp

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Recycle Depot
Harkening back to the summer of 2022, an oft-asked question was when the Quadra recycle depot would be upgraded for increased functionality. At the time CSWM was saying the new depot would be up and running by November 2022. Well, here we are summer of 2024, and folks are still asking.

The depot’s land lease issues are resolved, and the big news is that a Request For Proposals seeking a Recycle Depot Operator is publicly posted on the Comox Valley RD website. I’m really hoping that there’s someone who sees this as the type of work and business they’d like to engage in, and they put in a bid. Real talk: the depot can’t run without an operator! Visit comoxvalleyrd.ca/bid and click ‘current bid opportunities’.

Outer Islands Solid Waste Management Study & next steps
The 25-page report with many charts outlines that the cost to provide solid waste services to the Outer Islands vastly exceeds the amount residents are willing to pay. You can read report here: bit.ly/ODI-solid-waste. Following the release of the study, it was excellent to meet with 20+ Read Island residents and hear their priorities.

Since the Surge Narrows coffeehouse meeting, the Electoral Area Services Committee supported two motions: to advocate for enhanced disposal options including establishing a solid waste transfer station on Quadra Island, and an annual Extended Producer Responsibility event to facilitate material collection within the Outer Discovery Islands. Advocacy will be with the CSWM Board & staff. Outer Discovery Islands residents, please visit cswm.ca/swmp to share your top priorities for future solid waste service.

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Thank you for reading! I’m interested in your thoughts on solid waste: you’re welcome to connect and share them with me. You can email rmawhinney@srd.ca or call 250.203.2468.

Until next time,
Respectfully and sincerely,
Robyn Mawhinney