Money announced for Nanaimo Recycling Exchange, but request to build new facility denied

By Ian Holmes
February 16, 2018 - 3:59pm Updated: February 16, 2018 - 4:53pm

Rendering of what a new NRE facility could look like.Nanaimo Recycling Exchange

NANAIMO — Conditional financial support has been made to the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange, but it falls well short of what the non-profit organizations asked for.

Regional District of Nanaimo board members voted in-camera this week to include $300,000 per year for five years to the NRE starting in 2019, pending approval of its Solid Waste Management Plan. The NRE had requested the district buy its Kenworth Rd. property beside its current site and build a new facility there.

RDN board chair Bill Veenhof said the money is still conditional on the plan being finalized.

“It comes out of a very strong sentiment on behalf of the Board that the NRE provides the residents of the Regional District good service in terms of recycling items that are simply hard to recycle," Veenhof told NanaimoNewsNow.

Veenhof said the money is designed to allow the NRE to act as a research hub and to handle hard-to-recycle items. He didn't believe the funding would harm the 15 private waste and recycle collectors in the Nanaimo area.

“Particularly it's focusing on materials that I'm told the for-profit companies have difficulty recycling.”

The RDN offering a level playing field among for and non-profit recycling entities is a key plank in their draft Solid Waste Management Plan.

On Monday, the Exchange made a new-look proposal of generating funds itself through a membership drive while also requesting millions of dollars from the RDN and City of Nanaimo over 25-years.

The NRE's lease at it's facility expires at the end of March. The organization owns a neighbouring lot, but doesn't have the money to build a new home.

It's unclear what the future of the NRE will look like.

NanaimoNewsNOW has reached out to the organization for comment on how it can serve the community moving forward.

The RDN currently offers roughly $300,000 a year to the NRE to cover yard waste dumping fees. 

In an email, NRE vice chair Ben Geselbracht noted the City of Nanaimo supplies them with a little over $77,000 annually.

He stated the NRE's annual operating expenses are $1.1 million.


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