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Town ends recycling partnership with Opportunities Board

Posted on September 20, 2016 by Maple Creek

Decision stems from dispute over town’s new single-stream program

Taylor MacPherson
Twitter: @TaylorMCNews
Email: taylorm@maplecreeknews.com

The Town of Maple Creek is taking steps this month to end their recycling partnership with Maple Creek & District Opportunities Inc., a local non-profit dedicated to providing housing and support for adults with developmental disabilities.
The decision to dissolve the partnership arose after a dispute over the Town’s new single-stream recycling program. Under the new system, Maple Creek’s paper, plastic and cardboard will be handled by Emterra Environmental. Previously, these recyclables were managed by Opportunities staff through SARCAN.
“It’s because the Town Council made a decision to go with single-stream recycling,” Opportunities Executive Director Chuck Sutberry told the News-Times. “They’ve contracted Emterra, and there would really be nothing left for us to do in terms of the town’s recycling.”
Although the partnership is definitely ending, exactly what this decision means for Opportunities has yet to be determined.
“We’re having a dialogue with the Town,” said Sutberry. “There’s obviously a lot of questions that need to be answered in the coming days and weeks.”
“In the short-term, we know that some of our participants will be losing their jobs, said Sutberry. “Three in particular.”
Sutberry explained Opportunities was not consulted during the Town’s decision-making process.
“We were informed after Council made their decision to go single-stream, and awarded a contract,” he said. “It’s my belief that we could have used more conversation.”
At the latest Town Council meeting, Town Administrator Don McLeod echoed this view.
“This all happened faster than we anticipated,” said McLeod. “They were very adamant that we had not kept them informed.”
“When we did decide [to move to single-stream] it moved way quicker than what we thought it would. We were looking at the end of October before we’d have bins,” Mayor Barry Rudd told the News-Times.
“We don’t want to jeopardize SARCAN or Opportunities,” said Rudd. “We refuse to do that and we will not do that.”
According to Sutberry, there is no definite timeline yet for when the partnership will officially end.
“I am working with the Town Administrator, so we will take whatever time is required,” he says. “The Town has given us notice in terms of ending the recycling partnership. If we’re able to come to an amicable agreement prior to that, then that’s when the agreement will end.”
“It won’t have any impacts on the other work that we do,” added Sutberry. That means their work with housing will continue along with SARCAN’s intake of bottles and cans.
Rudd suggested once the single-stream program is established, there may be a place for Opportunities staff to help out again.
“We’re in the growing stages of the Emterra program,” said Rudd. “We have to see what works and what doesn’t, because there may be something we can do together.”
“We need to come up with ideas and manage the change,” said Rudd. “We will come up with something – I guarantee it.”
Opportunities is funded almost exclusively by the Town, who provide approximately $85,000 to the organization on an annual basis.

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