Hearing a resounding ‘no’ from council members and neighbours hasn’t stopped Ellice Recycle from making another application to put a diversion facility in Saanich.
The revamped rezoning request is set to go to council tonight (Monday). A long list of concerns brought up last July were addressed and dealt with in the new design, says Ellice’s general manager.
“We thought we had a very good and a very strong case,” said Gary Bartlett. “Obviously what we got back was we hadn’t done a good job in both communicating what we’re doing, and actively listening to the people in the neighbourhood.”
Noise, traffic, operating hours and bad smells were the biggest concerns brought up when the plan was first presented. Not only have those issues been addressed, Bartlett said, the company has spoken with neighbours outlining exactly what the project entails.
“This is the last piece of vacant industrial park land in Saanich,” he said of the property on Commerce Circle, just south of Vanalman Avenue. “It’s quiet there. Some people just don’t want that change.”
What’s unique about the application explained Mayor Frank Leonard, is that the definition of ‘recycling’ under current zoning in the industrial park allows for beverage container recycling only. That’s why Ellice needs a rezoning approval.
“Even if this is turned down, there are many possibilities for someone to create the same sort of issues for neighbours without going through rezoning,” he said.
The new facility would see residents pay to drop off and recycle items including wood, steel, paint, pesticides, carpeting and appliances.
“It’s easy to say we’re all in favour of recycling, but we don’t want it here,” Leonard said. “So it’s hard to define where ‘here’ is. If not ‘here’, where (are you) not going to encounter people saying ‘I don’t want the noise or the traffic?’”
Bartlett said companies like Ellice offer a good way to divert material that would otherwise go to Hartland landfill, which is quickly filling up.
“If we don’t do things like this – either us or someone else – we’ll run out of landfill space,” he said. “Talk about rezoning; it’s going to be even more difficult to rezone property for a landfill. This is a much better, much more proactive approach.”