Editorial: Give the people what they need, not what they want

Trent Ernst, Editor


Recently, a petition began making its way around town, asking the District to leave the recycling bins where they were.

The petition was a bit of an accident. Lucille Jacobsen was asked if she knew anything about creating a petition. She went and looked at the Internet, came up with something, then printed it out to show to the seniors.

She went home for supper, and when she got back, everyone had signed the petition, and plans were starting to start canvasing the rest of town.

The petition asks the District to leave the recycling bins where they are. However, with Tumbler Ridge moving from selling their recycling to a third-party recyclers to signing up with the provincial program, this won’t happen.

Too many people treat the signs on the recycling bins as suggestions, not rules. “This TV is mostly plastic,” they’ll say to themselves, pitching it into the recycling bin.

Moving the bins will cause problems. It will be hard for seniors and people without cars to get down to the transfer station. And some people work fairly random hours, and may not be able to make it down to the transfer station when the dump is open. The current set-up allows people to go do recycling any time, day or night.

Right now, there is a good solution for dealing with recycling. Coming down the pipes is the possibility of curbside pickup, which is an even better solution for dealing with recycling, and should help the District reach its goal of 75 percent recycling of paper and packaging materials.

However, between the good solution and the great solution lies a solution that is … adequate. Some may even say terrible.

I’ve described the move down to the dump to the process of building a house. Let’s say you have a piece of property, and right now, you’re living on that property in a tent. The grass is green, the trees are beautiful, and when it rains, you stay dry.

But there are issues. You have to go outside to cook and in the winter … brr.

In order to build a house, though, you need to first get in their with the heavy machinery and dig a hole for the basement, or at least for the foundations. You have to move your tent and wind up staying in a hotel or camped out somewhere else. The process of starting to build a house means that things get worse before they get better.

What the seniors and others are asking, I think, is not to leave the recycling bins where they are.

Well, okay, that’s what they’re asking, but it’s not what they need.

What they need is a convenient, easy to access place to do recycling. Some place that doesn’t mean they’ll have to walk 3 km out of their way to do recycling.

And yes, the end goal is a good one, but I’m wondering if there’s a happy middle ground that could be struck in the meantime.

MMBC needs the recycling station to be manned. Many residents need the recycling station to be downtown. I wonder if there’s a way to set up a temporary manned station someplace in the downtown core? Maybe at the community centre? Or at the new Visitor Information Centre.

Yes, I know. It would cause some problems for the people who work out of these spaces, and I’m not saying that it’s a perfect solution, but right now, the responsibility for carrying us between good and great is laid on the shoulders of the people of town, and there are people who can’t bear any more weight on their shoulders.

Maybe there’s a middle path in the meantime that we could find, but that’s not going to happen with one side making decisions and the other complaining about them, but by talking about the issues, and coming up with ideas and creative solutions together.