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Town picking up pace on recycling dilemma

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With its agreement with the Northwest Ontario Recycle Association set to expire June 30, and an offer on the table from the City of Dryden to operate recycling services here, the clock is ticking for town council to make up its mind about what do.

“We don’t have anything concrete at this time,” Operations and Facilities manager Pat Hickerson admitted during Monday night’s regular meeting.

“We’ll need to try in earnest in the next few weeks to find alternatives,” he added.

Hickerson noted while he’s had a little time to look at Dryden’s proposal, some conditions of the offer remain unclear.

“I do have some concerns about the costs that have been worked out,” he said. “I received a message from Mel Fisher [who’s been co-ordinating recycling in Dryden on an interim basis], who said the figures are looking at a worse-case scenario.

“But as it stands now, it may be $15 per capita, it may be $32. There’s a lot to be done, a lot to weed through,” he stressed.

But other solutions, such as Fort Frances handling recycling (which is mandatory for a community of this size) on its own are still a possibility.

“I think this might be a process of educating the people,” said Mayor Glenn Witherspoon. “Do we do curbside pickup, do we do drops? We have to figure that out.”

“Time is of the essence,” said Coun. Deane Cunningham, who also is the Fort Frances rep on the NORA board.

“We’ve known that this could happen for months, and now here we are at six weeks,” remarked Coun. Struchan Gilson, shaking his head.

When asked about the town’s portion of NORA’s assets after it disbands, Hickerson noted “there isn’t going to be much in the way of dollars.”

Dryden’s recycling program is aiming to serve only Dryden, Fort Frances, Sioux Lookout, and Atikokan. But first, these municipalities must agree to get on board before June 1.

The Dryden-based service, which would be fully operational by early July, would be provided on a contract basis, the conditions of which include:

•full cost recovery for each community;

•a five-year commitment;

•prorated sharing of revenue based on material delivered;

•agreement on what material will be accepted;

•promotion being the responsibility of each community; and

•a local contact in each community for inquiries.

The actual unit cost of processing will depend in part on volume. Dryden has estimated it to be $225 per tonne of accepted recyclables.

This cost of processing will be the same for all communities served. But the cost of collection will be different for each one, based on the distance from the plant in Dryden.

Dryden has estimated the cost of collection and transportation to the plant to be $31,227 annually for Fort Frances.

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