Blaze adds to recycling uncertainty

Fire crews continue to put out the burning bundles of recycling Saturday morning after the recycling plant went up in flames Friday night. - Lisa Vander Velde/Morning Star
Fire crews continue to put out the burning bundles of recycling Saturday morning after the recycling plant went up in flames Friday night.
— image credit: Lisa Vander Velde/Morning Star

A destructive fire has only complicated the future of recycling.

The Regional District of North Okanagan was already in the midst of determining the scope of its recycling program next year when fire roared through the collection and sorting facility at the Greater Vernon landfill March 1.

“The future of the facility, even before the incident, was uncertain and now it’s even more uncertain,” said Dale Danallanko, recycling and disposal facilities operations manager.

Under provincial rules, industry-based Multi-Materials B.C. will become responsible for recycling of packaging and printed paper in 2014. As part of that process, RDNO is developing a proposal for MMBC to consider on collection and sorting of material.

“We will have to speak to them about what they need here,” said Nicole Kohnert, manager of regional engineering services.

Ultimately, MMBC’s needs could impact replacing the destroyed structure.

“We will have to decide if we rebuild a full facility (with sorting) or if there is a smaller facility that’s just for collection,” said Kohnert.

RDNO had about $1 million in insurance coverage for the destroyed complex, and analysts will now consider the replacement cost and the structural integrity of the structures left.

What is guaranteed is the cause of the fire will never be known.

“The damage is so extensive they can’t determine the cause,” said Danallanko, of the insurance company’s investigation.

Curbside recycling collection continues and 400 tonnes a month of material will eventually be shipped to a Kelowna company, in the interim, for shipping.

“They certainly have the capacity and they are looking at taking some of the employees (from the facility) for the additional sorting,” said Kohnert.


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