When Norm Audet called the Beverage Container Management Board (BCMB) about getting a license to operate a Bottle Depot in Falher the BCMB, which regulates all of Alberta said that due to Falher having had a bottle depot before he could go ahead.
“When we phoned them at first they said yes, you’ve had one there before, you’re good to go,” says Audet. “So we proceeded, did all our paper work, sent them the application forms and in the meantime we made some signs and were getting ready to go.”
However, the BCMB later denied Audet’s application citing a new by-law designating Falher to close to the McLennan Bottle Depot but the board said that Audet could appeal that decision by submitting letters of support and things that would bolster his case.
“Well ok, so we reapplied with support letters from Girouxville, Donnelly, Falher with approximately 200 signatures and thirty letters of support from different organizations, including schools and the town of Falher but the BCMB denied it again.”
During the application process, the owner of McLennan Bottle Depot also voiced his concern, saying that he wasn’t very busy and if another bottle depot opened he would not be able to survive.
“We did it before. There was a bottle depot in both towns for twenty years,” says Audet.
The BCMB told Audet that Falher was too close to McLennan by 2 kilometers so he thought he might open in Girouxville.
“We thought if we are too close in Falher we’d apply from Girouxville and they said they would deny that also because the area does not have the population to keep two bottle depots going.”
Having already put a bunch of money into the project to no avail, Audet decided not to pursue it any further.
“It is was like hitting your head against a cement wall,” he says. “We did put a big half-page ad saying opening soon and people are still asking when are you guys opening up.”
Audet says he would like to inform Falher and other communities that the Bottle Depot application has been denied and that he thanks everyone for their support.
“We don’t think it is fair because we know we have the support of the local area. But I don’t want to blame anybody and we should support the guy in McLennan because if we don’t then he is going to lose it and we are going to have to go all the way to Peace River.”