District of Vanderhoof - Council Message

June-July 2012 - Mayor Gerry Thiessen

Recycling, environment and taxes

In the past 3 years the community of Vanderhoof has seen significant changes to the way we are able to recycle. Our waste has accumulated substantially due to packaging of products, including cardboard and plastics, as well as our compost. We, as a community, need to begin to make “greener” choices to create a sustainable lifestyle for the future of Vanderhoof.

In early 2009, the Nechako Healthy Community Alliance recommended to Council a plan to start a recycling program in Vanderhoof. At that time, there were minimal recycling opportunities in the community, and it appeared that a Recycling Committee would have a few challenges on their hands to develop and implement such a program. Although the challenges seemed high, the promise of Vanderhoof being a more sustainable community encouraged the District of Vanderhoof and Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako to provide a grant in aid to the Nechako Waste Reduction Initiative (NWRI) of just over $60,000.00 per year to begin the program.

Since the grant in aid was provided to NWRI, the group has overcome certain obstacles including a recession, small market for recyclables and minimal support from the provincial agency which is responsible for recycling and stewardship programs. NWRI has forged ahead and continued to work on several initiatives such as cardboard, milk jug; paper and electronic recycling are now available in the community.

There are many reasons for the residents of Vanderhoof to be involved in this initiative. First of all it is the right thing to do for our community and our future. Secondly, our children are demanding of us that they have a world that has them in mind. Thirdly, we cannot afford to keep raising taxes to pay to haul waste to our landfill. We spend about $65.00 per person hauling waste from our transfer station to the landfill and then burying it.

The NWRI is working on finding new ways to educate our community of our wasteful habits and how we can create a better, greener future for the children in our community. The NWRI can be found working within schools, hosting Green Events such as Canada Day and BC Rivers Day barbeques, and Community Clean-ups. The largest hurdle is to create a single location that makes it easier for us to recycle and work with the goals of NWRI. I want to thank Jerry Petersen for being supportive as the Regional District representative for electoral area “F”.

Last week Council worked on establishing some goals where we would like to see waste reduced in Vanderhoof by 15% in 5 years, with a goal of a 7% reduction by the end of 2014. We need your support to help make the best plan we can in order to accomplish this significant and worthwhile goal.

It is up to each and every one of us to do our part to recycle and educate our children by being careful of the products we use. We can start by taking small steps, ask the stores where we shop if they recycle their cardboard; we can compost food items, change our habits for good ones, and take time to clean up around your home and place of work. We can all start by taking a small step by visiting the Nechako Waste Reduction Initiative to learn more about recycling and reducing in Vanderhoof. Go to www.nechakowri.ca for more information.

Thank you, and happy recycling. Have a great summer.

~ Mayor Gerry Thiessen