By Heather Ramsay–First it was trees, now Islands’ scrap metal is being high graded. That was the concern raised by Queen Charlotte councillor Greg Martin at the June 18 meeting.
He had recently been to an Islands Solid Waste Administrative Committee meeting and was updated about the removal of scrap metal from the islands.
Councillor Martin was frustrated that communities on the islands were first asked to gather scrap into one central location for pick up, and later not given enough notice to do so in time for that pick up by an off-island dealer.
The scrap dealer is here now, says Tim DesChamp, waste operations supervisor with the regional district. He has been on the islands since the end of May at no cost to the regional district.
Mr. DesChamp said he had hoped to provide a month’s notice to island communities, but the dealer, CanAm Recycling, a division of Amix Salvage had to come when a barge was available.
“Unfortunately he didn’t get notice until three days before leaving to get to the Queen Charlottes,” he said.
So far the scrap dealer has cleaned the metal out of the various transfer stations and the dump on the islands and pulled heavy machinery out of a number of sites as well. He has cleared out derelict vehicles from the industrial site in Masset and equipment from the old mill site at the entrance to town along with heavy equipment belonging to Teal Jones in Sandspit.
All in all, Mr. DesChamp estimates the company has cleared more than 1,100 metric tons of scrap already, and will end up with an estimated three barge loads.
He said the heavy steel is worth a lot more than white metal, such as used stoves and fridges, but with the price of metal right now, all of it’s valuable. That is why the company was willing to come at no cost to the regional district. The last time metals were taken off the island was around 12 years ago.
Councillor Martin thinks the scrap company is creaming the best and leaving the junk that islanders will be stuck with again.
“They are taking the high value, easy to get stuff,” said Councillor Martin. “We’re being taken for a ride.”
Councillor Eric Ross said the issue with the scrap cars is a sore spot. He said told the other councilors that it is definitely time for the village to think about clearing lots to allow storage of this material for the future.
Mayor Carol Kulesha said the village wants to ask the province to set aside some industrial land for the town.
On the bright side, she said the landfill is no longer full of scrap metal now. The public can bring old appliances and other metals to the transfer stations for a fee.
Mr. DesChamps does not know when a scrap metal company would be back on the islands after this company is done.
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