VIRWIC letter to Cowichan Valley RD requesting reconsideration of decision to accept free yard and garden waste only at CVRD facilities

To: CVRD Board Chair and Members

RE: CVRD’s Decision to Not Charge Market Rates for Yard and Garden Waste


The Vancouver Island Recycling and Waste Industry Coalition (VIRWIC) has been formed with a key purpose to work with local governments, and other stakeholders to develop fair and effective recycling and waste management policies throughout Vancouver Island. We want local governments to meet their recycling and solid waste objectives, the public to receive high quality service at a reasonable cost, and the industry to have a stable investment environment.

Our key policy messages are:

  1. Local governments should not be in competition with the private sector – the role of Local governments should be to adopt a target setting, education and enforcement role
  2. Open and fair competition in the sector will create value for residents while keeping costs low – industry

investments in infrastructure can only happen when government sends a clear signal that it will not build competing infrastructure or restrict free trade

The Cowichan Valley Regional District’s Solid Waste Management Plan, approved by the Province, includes a few key commitments that support the private recycling and waste management industry. The plan states that the CVRD will set market rates, support local recycling businesses, and avoid cross-subsidization. The recycling businesses in the region have made investments based on these CVRD commitments that were approved by the Province.

The CVRD’s recent decision not to charge market rates for yard and garden waste is in conflict with the approved Solid Waste Management Plan. The decision does not support local industry, instead it puts the CVRD in the position of using taxpayer dollars to compete with private industry who pay taxes in the CVRD. Subsidizing yard and garden waste to offer “free drop off” is enticing the public to use CVRD facilities over private facilities in the area. The private industry cannot utilize taxpayer dollars like the CVRD to subsidize disposal costs, therefore this recent decision is creating an unequal playing field and stifling competition.

As an industry, we ask that you reconsider the decision to not charge market rates on yard and garden waste, or provide equal subsidies to private facilities accepting yard and garden waste in the region so they may offer the public the same “free drop off” as any CVRD operated facilities. We support the CVRD’s initiative to increase recycling objectives for yard and garden waste as well as other recyclables. However, if the CVRD chooses to continue to misleadingly advertise that “yard and garden costs zero dollars to accept at CVRD operated facilities”, or exclude industry from equal subsidies, you will continue to harm industry.

Stew Young Jr
VIRWIC Co-chair

View CVRD Full PDF 

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