Shown are GUF members cleaning up the Nahounli Creek in Fort St. James in 2017. (File photo)

“Let’s move forward and not backwards,” says Greening Up Fort member

Louise Evans-Salt made a presentation to council about continuing the curbside recycling services

Greening-Up Fort in Fort St. James is still lobbying hard to get curbside recycling extended beyond December this year.

The group presented to council at a regular public meeting, and Louise Evans-Salt who is on the board for GUF said the group thought it was imperative that they make a presentation to council and explain why it is important, valuable and “well-worth the money” to continue curbside recycling.

The recycling contract has been extended until December by Nak’azdli Whut’en who also originally held the contract from Recycle BC.

However, at the start of the year, the neighboring First Nations community said they would no longer be able to provide the service.

The recycling that began in the community was initiated by GUF, said Salt.

“With the current state of the world and what we see in news everyday, people are talking about landfills, pollution, plastic pollution. We just felt it was really essential that we be a voice so that we don’t go backwards and just continue going forward,” she added.

The group made their argument to council and provided some partnership in terms of education. Salt said they also suggested ways the municipality could find funding.

“To reall keep curbside recycling efficient, they need two trucks and a truck is expensive, especially with where our economy is. So we made some suggestion about grants available,” she added.

Fort St. James council did send out a survey asking people what they felt about curbside recycling, but Salt says the discussion behind that survey has not been made public.

She said mayor and council heard her presentation but said there were no discussions done at that time.

“When we knew that Nak’zadli was not going to continue the contract with Recycle BC, we spoke with both mayor and council and the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako saying that we want this initiative to continue and RDBN promised the community that it would,” Salt said.

The municipality are doing their part by setting up services at the recycling depot, she said, noting however that as per a study GUF did when they were starting out — people tend to do suff when it is easy. Otherwise it can be very difficult to get people involved, Salt added.

The ideal scenario would be if all three levels of government would get involved in finding a sustainable solution for curbside recycling and not go backwards by completely cancelling the service, she said.

“The joint leadership of Nak’zadli and the district, this community has been a model in the North and in rural communities due to a successfully run recycling program. It is this type of partnership and leadership that will attract newcomers to the community,” she said.

The group also believes that by taking such a decision the younger generation in the community will be confused, Salt said, adding the youth today are receiving strong messages about waste management practices in their educational curriculum.

“We see a world wide movement being led by a 16-year old asking leaders everywhere to step up to challenges to address climate change. Waste management is part of that,” she said.

An important point to consider, Salt said, is that the community will be grand parented with the current contract with Recycle BC. If the community cancels, they will not get another opportunity for curbside due to population size, Salt explained.

GUF can assist with door-to-door education, and bringing in speakers and giving workshops. “GUF has a history of successful introducing and growing recycling into our community, ” said Salt.

She said the group is committed to educating the public about sustainability and stewardship. However they need the vision of mayor and council, their leadership and practices for GUF to continue being successful, Salt concluded.

Aman Parhar
Editor, Vanderhoof Omineca Express

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