NORA pleads for provincial aid

The Northwest Ontario Recycle Association is looking to the province for a helping hand to ensure its survival—a message board members made clear at a meeting Wednesday in Dryden with Ministry of Northern Development and Mines reps.
“More than anything, we expressed the need for financial assistance. Hopefully, they can come through with something,” NORA chair Dennis Brown, who also is mayor of Atikokan, said Thursday morning.
The board, along with some administrative staff from the City of Dryden, met with Catherine Harris and Dave Laderoute, MNDM team leaders for Kenora and Thunder Bay, respectively.
“We explained to them the difficulties with NORA—the aging vehicles, the aging plant, the vast distances involved, the fact the market’s low, the fact the WDO [Waste Diversion Organization] funding isn’t coming through,” said Brown.
“Now they understand the position we’re in, and will go give [MNDM minister] Dan Newman a briefing,” he added. “We’ll have to wait and see what happens.”
In related news, Dryden council earlier this week passed a motion to hire former NORA chair Mel Fisher to help the city co-ordinate recycling operations.
“It’s on an interim basis until the end of June,” said Brown. “He’s retired so he has the time to do it. And given his background, he really knows what he’s doing.”
Fisher, who was city engineer for Dryden for many years before retiring two years ago, was hired due to the great number of calls municipal staff have had to handle since the city was asked to take over co-ordinating recycling duties last month, said Brown.
Brown noted Fisher, who also was at yesterday’s meeting, still feels strongly about NORA and its role in the region.
“He made a statement about NORA once being looked upon as a model for recycling operations. And it still is,” said Brown. “We may have our troubles, but there isn’t a recycling system like this in other parts of Ontario.”
Dryden administration agreed last month to temporarily co-ordinate the recycling operations after NORA co-ordinator Keith Sveinson resigned.
Looking into the near future, NORA soon will get a better idea of its choices when it comes to handing over recycling duties to another operator since the deadline to reply to its request for proposals is Feb. 26.
These will discussed at the next NORA board meeting March 1 in Dryden. Coun. Deane Cunningham is the Fort Frances rep on the board.