Engagement about recycling in New West underway

Depot to remain open until the end of March

New Westminster residents will be able to take items to the local recycling depot a bit longer than planned.

While the city had anticipated it would be closing the New Westminster recycling depot in February, it’s determined the facility can stay open until the end of March.

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“As we are moving ahead with the redevelopment project for the new aquatic centre, it looks like construction is now not going to start until April,” said Mayor Jonathan Cote. “The direction council has given is, let’s try and keep the existing recycling centre open as long as possible, until construction starts for the new pool project.”

More than 1,400 residents have signed a petition opposing the closure of the recycling depot. City officials have said the design of the new aquatics and community centre, the presence of underground infrastructure and the desire to keep the existing facility open during construction prevented the city from retaining the existing depot.

Many residents have voiced concerns about the closure of the depot and the city’s decision to partner with the Tri-Cities on a regional facility on United Boulevard, just across the Bailey bridge in Coquitlam. Members of city council have admitted the city should have done a better job of engaging with citizens about plans to close the depot.

In response to community concerns about the closure of the recycling depot and the gap between the time the city’s depot closes and the regional facility opens in late 2020, the city is planning a number of events to get public input. City staff will be at the recycling depot on Saturday, Feb.  1 and Sunday, Feb. 9 to hear from residents.

“There will definitely be some engagement at the depot, but there are some other sessions held at community facilities,” Cote said. “There will be a number of opportunities for the public to be able to engage.”

Cote said the city is following through with its commitment to do some more engagement with residents and to try and get feedback about what mitigating measures the city can do to help address the concerns that have arisen from the redevelopment of the Canada Games Pool and the relocation of the recycling depot.

“We have definitely heard from the community that they have got some concerns – and some ideas that they would like to share with the community,” he said. “We want to provide as much of an opportunity as possible for residents to have that discussion with us.”

The City of New Westminster is holding a series of drop-in dialogues to get public input about recycling and waste reduction needs.

* Tuesday, Feb. 4 – 5 to 8 p.m. at Queen’s Park Arena’s lobby.

* Thursday, Feb. 6 – 6 to 8 p.m., Queensborough Community Centre, 920 Ewen Ave.

* Saturday, Feb. 8 – 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Anvil Centre lobby, 777 Columbia St.

* Tuesday, Feb. 11 – 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., St. Aidan’s Church, 1320 Seventh Ave.

Kristian Davis, the city’s supervisor of the solid waste and recycling branch, recently told council that staff would be reporting back to council in March or early April about feedback from the public engagement and providing recommendations on how to meet some of the community’s recycling and waste-reduction needs.

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