Big Valley will chip in to pay for recycling bins

Written by Stu Salkeld

The Village of Big Valley will chip in and help pay the costs of hosting recycling bins in the community to the tune of $4,000. The decision to cooperate with the County of Stettler on the project was made at the Feb. 9 regular meeting of council.

Councillors read a report from Village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Elaine Macdonald regarding the village and County of Stettler’s proposal to work together to host the recycling bins.

“The County of Stettler has been paying the entire cost for the recycling program at the waste transfer sites in Big Valley, Donalda and Town of Stettler since it was implemented,” stated Macdonald’s report to council.

“This has become an onerous cost in their budget and to their ratepayers. They planned on removing all the bins Feb. 1, 2023 and only having them at county facilities such as Erskine and Byemoor but agreed to meet with the council of Big Valley to discuss alternatives.”

Macdonald reported the two councils met to discuss the issue and the CAO noted the meeting went very well.

“The county is amenable to a cost sharing venture where they would pay 60 per cent of the costs and the village would pay 40 per cent, based on a population formula,” stated Macdonald.

“The county agreed to leave the bins in Big Valley until after the council meeting to provide council time to discuss and reach a decision on whether or not the cost sharing model is feasible for the village.”

During discussion Macdonald stated 40 per cent of the cost of the recycling bins would add up to about $4,000 per year for the taxpayers of Big Valley. She noted that amount was tentatively placed in the village’s 2023 budget, but it’s ultimately up to the councillors to decide, adding that the County of Stettler made it clear if the village didn’t contribute then the bins would be removed.

Coun. Clark German stated he supported paying the $4,000 and keeping the recycling bins in town and understood the reasoning behind it. German noted he’d received feedback from Big Valley residents who also wanted to keep it and the councillor added that the recycling bins are well-used plus help protect the environment.

“I’d hate to see it not continue,” said German.

Coun. Amber Hoogenberg agreed, whilst noting council also received a letter from a Big Valley resident who wanted to keep the bins in town. She added she regularly sees people at the recycling bins.

German suggested placing a line on the village utility bills for the recycling bins so residents know the program has a price tag.

Mayor Dan Houle pointed out the recycling bins ensure items get re-used rather than end up in a landfill.

Coun. German asked if the recycling program has any revenue associated with it; Macdonald stated that the cost analysis didn’t answer that question. However, Mayor Houle stated that metal recycling has some revenue connected to it.

The CAO pointed out the village’s strategic plan calls for enhancing public safety and protecting the beauty of Big Valley, and if there are no recycling bins in town, “…people may be more apt to store those materials on their property rather than taking them to a county facility,” stated Macdonald’s report.

Councillors unanimously passed a resolution to contribute $4,000 to the County of Stettler’s recycling bin program and to include a line on village utility bills showing the recycling cost.

Stu Salkeld
Local Journalism Initiative reporter
ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.