‘Blue box’ strategy set to be unveiled

Duane Hicks

The town is looking for community input on a draft of a new “blue box” recycling plan.
As such, an open house has been scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 30 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Civic Centre.
Operations and Facilities manager Doug Brown said the town has received a draft plan from consultants Trow Engineering, which this will be presented to the public at the open house.
The strategies outlined are intended to guide how the town manages its “blue box” recycling program over the next 10 years, he noted.
“It’s an open house for the public to provide input into the proposed strategies—whether they think it’s crazy or makes sense,” Brown remarked.
“It’s to give people a chance to review what a consultant that deals with this stuff [thinks] we should do for the next 10 years with recycling,” he added.
“It’s good to get input from the public.”
The town receives about $62,000 a year from Waste Diversion Ontario (WDO) to help assist with the cost of “blue box” pick-up.
Brown explained the town was spurred to develop a “blue box” recycling plan because WDO mandated that if Fort Frances does not have one in place by the end of this year, the town will have its “blue box” funding reduced by 15 percent.
A loss of funding would mean it would fall on the taxpayer to make up the loss of revenue, Brown said.
The town applied for a grant from WDO back in March in order to the develop the strategy.
Then in late August, Fort Frances and Atikokan teamed up to hire a Trow Engineering to devise a “blue box” recycling strategy for both communities (by teaming up, 90 percent of the cost was covered by the provincial grant).
The town’s recycling diversion rate is around 13 percent, but should be closer to 25 percent, said Brown.
He’s hoping the new strategy can help with that.
In related news, work continues on the new drop-off station for recyclables behind the Public Works building.
Brown said before the end of the year, the public will be able to drive up to a turnaround off Sixth Street West and drop off their recyclables into in four different blue bins 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
This is similar to the glass drop-off bins currently located to the west of the Public Works building.
“If people go [away] on holidays, they’ll be able to drop off ‘blue box’ recycling, or if they’re accumulating too much, they can drop it off,” Brown noted.
Brown said he’ll probably announce at the Nov. 22 council meeting exactly when the recycle transfer station will be operational.