Lake Cowichan Mayor Ross Forrest has many memories of when he worked at picking up garbage in his community from 1982 to 1986 and depositing it at the old municipal waste incinerator on Youbou Road.
He said it’s hard to believe he’s standing at the same location at the ribbon cutting for the new and upgraded $5.5-million Meade Creek Recycling Centre on July 20.
“This is a great improvement for the community and I’m very happy considering where we’ve come from,” Forrest said to the group of politicians and dignitaries who had gathered for the occasion.
“We’re certainly heading in the right direction and I want to thank the senior levels of government for their support in its construction.”
The upgraded Meade Creek Recycling Centre, located at 8855 Youbou Rd., is now open to the public, serving residents in Lake Cowichan, Youbou, and western communities in the CVRD.
The centre is a state-of-the-art recycling drop-off facility built on the site of the old municipal incinerator.
The ash landfill from the incinerator was closed due to new environmental requirements by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, and the design of the new facility enabled the siting of all amenities on the remediated land.
Klaus Kuhn, the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s director for Youbou/Meade Creek, said it’s a good day for Youbou and the region.
“The old site was called a dump and it was a dump,” he said.
“This is an unbelievably huge improvement and I want to thank the CVRD’s board for making the recycling centre a priority and senior levels of government for their support. We really needed this.”
The recycling centre gives residents local access to a full range of recycling programs, something that residents in neighbouring communities have enjoyed for years.
The facility now provides recycling options for more than 650 products, as well as a Free Store where residents can pick up gently used items for free.
The closure of the old landfill and upgrades to the existing facility was made possible due to funding and support of the Federal Gas Tax Fund and the Green Municipal Fund.
The FGTF, which is administered in B.C. through the Union of BC Municipalities in partnership with the federal and provincial governments, contributed $2.56 million of the total budget for the project.
The GMF, funded by the federal government and delivered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, provided an additional $1.44 million towards the project.
Francois-Philippe Champagne, the federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, said investing in green infrastructure projects like the Meade Creek Recycling Centre is vital to safeguarding the environment and developing clean sustainable communities.
“The Canadian government is proud to have supported the facility, which will increase the community’s recycling capacity and promote a greener way of life for residents,” he said.
Selina Robinson, B.C.’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, said the Federation of Canadian Municipalities is proud to help communities like the CVRD “lead the way on the triple bottom line; environmental, social and economic sustainability”.
“Projects like this recycling centre have a tangible impact on both the environment and the lives of local residents,” she said.
“At the same time, this is the kind of innovation that can inspire other communities on the path to a greener Canada.”
Jon Lefebure, chairman of the CVRD, said the new facility will greatly contribute to the CVRD’s long-term goal of reducing waste that would otherwise be transported to a landfill.
“We are excited to now be able to offer a full range of recycling services in a local, safe and modern facility to residents and visitors in the Lake Cowichan, Youbou, and surrounding communities,” he said