North Okanagan residents are being urged to keep recycling despite a major setback.
Flames devoured the recycling facility at the Greater Vernon landfill March 1 at about 9:30 p.m.
“For our customers, there is no change in service,” said Nicole Kohnert, Regional District of North Okanagan’s manager of regional engineering services.
“We don’t want to stop collecting material.”
Blue bags will be picked up around the region, as usual, and then collected at a building at the landfill. They will then be sent for sorting by one of two Kelowna companies.
“We have yet to get prices and we’re looking for the best price,” said Kohnert.
The loss of the recycling facility has impacted more than 30 people involved in sorting.
“We will attempt to use Bluewater (contractor) employees and Venture Training is doing what it can to find other opportunities for their people,” said Kohnert.
In the long-term, RDNO will have to decide if it rebuilds the facility, which received about 100 tonnes of recycling per week.
The Greater Vernon landfill remains open for anyone needing to get rid of household waste.
Firefighters from Vernon, Coldstream and BX-Swan Lake responded to the blaze.
“We are still trying to determine the area of origin,” said Jack Blair, a deputy chief with the Vernon Fire Department.
“There was so much damage so it makes the investigation a tough one. For us, it could go down as undetermined.”
Firefighters were also kept busy dousing hot spots throughout the weekend.
“There were hundreds of bales (of material) that had to be ripped apart and soaked down,” said Blair.
Water had to be transported to site as there isn’t a water source at the landfill. However, Blair doesn’t believe that was a major factor in responding to the emergency.
“It (water source) wouldn’t have helped because the fire was so intense before the arrival of the fire department,” he said.