Skeena – Queen Charlotte Regional District

Despite concerns raised by the Queen Charlotte Hospital, there will be no free ride when it comes to recycling in the area.

Despite concerns raised by the plant operations manager of the Queen Charlotte Hospital, there will be no free ride when it comes to recycling in the area.

The Skeena – Queen Charlotte Regional District (SQCRD) received a letter from Cairns Ives expressing frustration with having to pay for recycling following the installation of a recycling depot in the community.

“The Queen Charlotte Hospital for years has tried to follow a green approach and reduce our carbon footprint. Now, as a reward, the SQCRD is charging us $30 every time we show up at your doors,” he wrote, noting the hospital should be exempt.

“A business is an enterprise that charges a service and in return makes a profit. As far as I can tell, the health care system has been hemorrhaging money for decades and is far from profitable. I wonder if food banks and churches are considered a business as well under your billing schedule?”

Noting that a fee was mistakenly put in place before a bylaw amendment had been made and that those incorrectly charged had been refunded, SQCRD administrator Joan Merrick said hospitals and churches do not qualify for exemption under the regional district’s policy.

“The board does have a policy of not waving fees for non-profits and, I feel, that is a just policy. The board can be sympathetic to churches, hospitals and non-profits, but if they don’t pay then it falls back onto the taxpayers,” she explained, with director Des Nobels agreeing with keeping the policy in place.

“They are expecting residents to pick up the tab for their recycling and that is unacceptable,” he said.

The board moved to simply receive the letter, but not before Queen Charlotte Mayor Carol Kulesha expressed her opposition to any such fee.

“He speaks for a lot of people and I have seen a lot of small business people explode, saying this is yet another fee they have to pay,” she said.

“I don’t agree with the direction we went, but it is the direction we have gone.”

The bylaw set the recycling fee for businesses at $20 for pickup service, $10 for a small pickup or $2 per bag.