There are many examples of 'Death by Success'; the Salmon spawning process, the Praying Mantis mating ritual, and even the successful matchstick which, when struck, proceeds to consume itself. A new example could be the new SCRD Recycling Contract recently signed by the Gibsons Recycling Depot (GRD).

A recently published media article reveals that this 18-month contract will cost the SCRD almost $300K in funds derived from taxes. This contract was 'negotiated' over 5 months, to replace a temporary 6-month contract which ran to March this year.

At $16.5K per month, this new contract runs at $5K per month more for the simple reason that the previous $11.5K per month did not cover the contractor's expenses, including rising Ferry fares and fuel prices for shipping recyclables to the lower Mainland and the severely reducing revenues paid at the terminals for those recyclables.

Paradoxically, the more successful the citizenry's practical awareness of recycling has become, the more volumes were generated at the GRD; and, the more their costs increased in conjunction with reducing revenues from the recyclables.

But, the new contract refuses to acknowledge the need for specific sub-clauses to address either increasing transportation costs or reducing revenues from delivery of the recyclables. Remember the IGA Mall example of an SCRD-run recycling facility? This was dismantled last year at the request of the Mall owners. Fortunately, a proposed relocation to the Sunnycrest Mall was defeated by Gibsons Council. What resulted was the “temporary contract” with the GRD, lasting until March this year.

The point I am leading to is that, 7 years ago, the SCRD budgeted in excess of $20K per month to run the IGA Mall experience, then replaced it with an $11.5K per month temporary contract, and now has replaced it with an 18-month contract at $16.5K per month. In the meantime, the SCRD is paying $6700 per month to run the recycling facility in Area A (2011 Census population 2678). Since the “regional” GRD serves the combined population of Areas F, E, Gibsons, and [let's say] one third of Area D, it serves a population of 11,000; and, the resultant multiplier of 4 to 1 means that the GRD could deserve a commensurate funding up to $27K per month.

A further limitation of this new contract is that the SCRD will only compensate for the tonnage previously documented at the IGA Mall location, not the tonnage experienced under the new contract.

Therefore, the more the citizenry grasp, and choose to follow, the responsible attitude of recycling, the more the volumes will increase; and, the more the GRD will have to absorb both the responsibility and the associated costs.

In effect, the SCRD is downloading their responsibility for 'waste products' to a private contractor, without commensurate funding.

But, in the meantime, this year's SCRD budget allocated roughly $70K to hire another staff member within the department overseeing sustainable services such as Recycling (?).

So, it would seem that the more successful the GRD becomes in advocating for and handling the citizenry's recyclables, the closer it will come to 'ringing its own death knell'.

Brian K. Sadler retired to Gibsons in 1998, after 35 years service in the RCAF and the Canadian Airborne Regiment; and 2 years as a senior UN Political Officer in Bosnia-Hercegovina