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Decision hangs for future on salvaging metal

The board will discuss more on this metal project in December
Decision hangs for Burns Lake’s future on salvaging metal. (File photo/Lakes District News)

The Regional District of Bulkley Nechako (RDBN) said it will continue its discussions on implementing the 2024 metal pilot project [salvaging metal] at the Burns Lake Transfer Station and Recycle Depot.

At the regional district’s Nov.23 meeting, the board of directors raised questions about the financial feasibility of the metal salvaging program.

Last year, RDBN sold over 2,900 metric tonne of recycled metal and earned $525,000.

RDBN in its 2024 financial plan predicts that an initial investment of $100,000 with an annual operational cost of $120,000 may generate revenue of $2,800,000 selling scrap metal.

The report mentioned that one per cent annual increase in environmental services could generate $55,000 additional revenue and has the potential to prompt private metal salvage enterprises.

However, some of the board of directors such as Vanderhoof’s mayor, Kevin Moutray pointed out that investing in this project is a major budgetary decision.

Michael Riis-Christianson, Burns Lake Rural Director pointed out that spending an additional $100,000 may not be worth it since the project is for one-year and proposed for more discussions in the future.

Stoney Stoltenberg, Electoral Area A Director said the total project cost of $220,000 in 2024 would hardly be recoverable from selling scrap metal.

“It’s beyond me to believe that we’re going to recover one-tenth of that in selling steel.” Stoltenberg was initially opposed to it and still believes it’s not a good idea.

Clint Lambert, Electoral Area E Director indicated that access to scrap metal from Burns Lake would be free since there are no scales.

“If people are coming in and taking metal, they should be weighed in and weighed out, and there’s a charge on top of it,” Lambert said.

Lambert suggested that the pilot project be moved to either Vanderhoof, Houston or Telkwa since they already have scales. That way the steel could be charged, and the cost could be recouped, he said.

After hearing from the board, RDBN Chairperson, Mark Parker, decided to hold another meeting to further discuss about this project on Dec. 15 and the board agreed on it.