Council requesting refund

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

The Town of High Prairie is calling actions by its recycling partner, Waste GFL Environmental, “misleading” after learning that glass is not being recycled at its recycling centre.
Council invited GFL operations manager – northern Alberta, Wade Chernichan, to its March 8 meeting and he did so by Zoom. He confirmed glass was not being recycled.
Mayor Brian Panasiuk asked Chernichan point-blank if glass was being recycled. Council, which has two bins designated for glass recycling, heard at an earlier meeting it was not.
“Correct,” said Chernichan. “There is no market for it. Virgin material is so cheap.”
In truth, glass is being dumped at the landfill instead of being recycled.
Panasiuk asked if there was any hope the glass recycling market would soon change.
“No, not at all,” replied Chernichan.
Later, after Chernichan left the meeting, council discussed the matter. Councillor James Waikle moved that the two bins designated for glass recycling be removed as soon as possible.
“We’ll do our best,” replied CAO Rod Risling.
“It is a contract.”
Council agreed unanimously to remove the bins.
However, Councillor Sacha Martens asked for more.
“In good faith. . .ask for a refund,” she said. “Why weren’t we informed?”
And, she added, how far back was the service not being provided as promised.
“I have no idea how long it’s [not been] profitable,” said Panasiuk.
“Years,” replied Waikle.
“He’s going to say he was doing what was right for the environment,” said Councillor John Dunn, but agreed GFL was charging for a service it was not providing.
“It was certainly misleading,” said Panasiuk. “People believed they were doing something good when they weren’t.”
Stenhouse added people were even buying products such as Goo Be Gone to take labels off glass.
And, some people might have kept their glass and done something with it, added Councillor Therese Yacyshyn.
Chernichan did not respond to repeated phone calls for an interview.
On the positive side, Chernichan said 100 per cent of metals were being recycled and invited council for a tour of their Edmonton facility. The company sorts over one million tons of recycled material each year.

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