Nanaimo Recycling Exchange changes gears, proposes to help fund new home

By Ian Holmes
February 13, 2018 - 8:21pm Updated: February 13, 2018 - 9:08pm

NRE vice chair Ben Geselbracht pitching a new funding idea to the RDN board Monday afternoon.Ian Holmes/NanaimoNewsNOW

Concept of what the NRE's new facility would look like. Nanaimo Recycling

NANAIMO — A new funding concept has emerged from the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange, which faces the encroaching threat of shutting down. 

NRE vice-chair Ben Geselbracht proposed a way their organization could shoulder some of the costs for a new facility during a presentation to Regional District of Nanaimo board members Monday afternoon. 

RDN staff are currently forming a report based on the premise the District would pay for a new NRE facility on land the non-profit group owns next to its existing Kenworth Rd. building.

“It is now our belief that the simplest, most cost-effective route to realize a new facility is for the NRE to build the facility ourselves,” Geselbracht told a packed RDN committee of the whole meeting.

The NRE's new-look plan involved raising $100,000 annually through a membership drive and roughly $350,000 and $200,000 a year contributed by the RDN and City of Nanaimo respectively for 25-years.

He said they are running out of time and funding options should be thrown on the table now between NRE, RDN and City of Nanaimo officials. Geselbracht said communication with the RDN has been “muddy” and they haven't felt included.

“It seems that the whole process has been jumbled up and we're confused. Ideally we'd like to sit down with the people who are making the decision.”

RDN board chair Bill Veenhof said they have expended significant financial and staff resources trying to nail down a solution.

“I gotta tell you I find it tough that now all of a sudden 'No, not that solution maybe we should be chasing another one.' We are way down the road on your initial ask.”

The non-profit organization previously maintained the price tag for a new building would be more debt than it could take on.

RDN directors are expected to vote on the fate of the NRE at an in-camera meeting in the near future.

The popular organization's current lease expires at the end of March. Geselbracht said they will close without an assurance of funding for a new building.

The RDN's draft Solid Waste Management Plan supports a level playing field for both private and public solid waste management facilities. 

Fifteen for-profit waste and recycling collectors currently do business in Nanaimo. 

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