Glamourous recognition for dirty work

Terrace-area waste management program heaped with awards

Be proud of your waste.

At its Community Excellence Awards ceremony this year the Union of BC Municipalities recognized the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine with the top distinction in the Leadership and Innovation, Green Initiatives category for its Terrace-Area Integrated Solid Waste Management Program.

Conceived of in the mid-1990s, the slow rollout of public services for waste disposal and recycling is looked upon as an extraordinary feat of planning, coordination and execution, especially for a relatively remote population of this size.

“It’s really a community award,” Bob Marcellen, RDKS chief administrative officer said in a telephone interview from Vancouver. “It’s the citizens that have made this work.”

The overarching principle of the program is to avoid waste being landfilled by using interlinked programs that then minimize waste generation, maximize reuse, recycling and material recovery, and dispose what’s left responsibly.

Roger Tooms, manager of works and services for the RDKS, gave further credit to all staff involved but recognized the fine tuning of the program is ongoing. “We’ve been very diligent in doing our best to engage our stakeholders; we work very hard with our commercial sector and we identify with the barriers. But we’re doing our best to help people remove them and participate.”

It’s not just the UBCM casting praise on the program. This marks its third award this year.

Last week it was celebrated by the Community Energy Association, a non-profit charitable society with board members in part from the government, transit and utility sectors, with a Climate Action Energy Action Award for corporate operations.

“The state-of-the-art waste management facility and transfer station, combined with a three-stream residential curbside collection program, residential and commercial organics diversion and solid waste material bans has successfully prevented the release of almost 1,500 tonnes of CO2 equivalent in less than one year,” said board chair Philip Germuth.

George Heyman, minister of environment and climate change strategy said initiatives like the Terrace-area program are models for climate leadership at a provincial level. “These awards highlight the many innovative actions communities are taking to achieve their greenhouse gas emission targets.”

Last May the North Central Local Government Association recognized Terrace-area residents with a Community Leadership Award for Environmental Sustainability, as it was the citizens who guided the development of the program, and now continue to contribute to its success through participation.

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