When it comes to the issue of the New Westminster recycling depot closing sometime in 2020, there has been a lot of hyperbole from upset residents.
And some statements that feel like they aren’t realistic.
For instance, Kristian Davis, the city’s supervisor of solid waste and recycling, at a recent council meeting discussing the driving time for New West residents when they have to start using the new Coquitlam transfer station and recycling depot.
“The added five minutes’ drive time, if you are coming from somewhere further west of the depot, is probably not too cumbersome when you think of the new facility being able to accept far more items and being a one-stop shop rather than having to go to multiple locations,” Davis said.
It wasn’t a terrible thing to say, but the words “not too cumbersome” and “bailey bridge” don’t typically go together in the minds of drivers.
That seems like a stretch.
In a letter to the city, Metro Vancouver said the “weighted average driving time” in kilometres from New West to the new facility is 5.5 kilometres. In terms of the “weighted average driving time” in minutes, New West is 14 minutes from the facility.
Now, we’re not sure how accurate those figures are. Perhaps it matters at what time of day you go because the area around the bailey bridge can get extremely congested. The numbers also don’t account for what kind of waiting time New West residents will face at a new regional facility, compared with dropping by a small, local facility.
Even supporters of the move have admitted in letters to the editor that going to a facility in Coquitlam will be less convenient than dropping off items at the current depot.
So, perhaps we should dispense with trying to minimize the inconvenience factor.
Having said all of this, just because it will be more inconvenient doesn’t mean New West shouldn’t have done this deal.
In fact, the opposite is true
The layout of the future New Westminster Aquatics and Community Centre facility prevents the recycling depot from staying at its current location.
A report to council said staff investigated alternative locations for a recycling depot, but found it wasn’t cost-effective to establish a new facility in New West because of the high cost of land, the proximity to private recycling facilities and the breadth of the city’s current residential recycling and organic waste collection programs.
According to the report, the city’s annual cost will be $44,000 – far less than the $113,000 it cost to operate its recycling depot in 2017. The city also doesn’t have to pay a whopping price tag to build a new facility.
Taxpayers are always criticizing city politicians for being wasteful, and yet when New West council finds a deal that will actually save the city money and offer more recycling services, they get roasted for it.
Maybe give council a little credit for making a smart financial decision.