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Blackfalds wins their battle for bottle depot

Blackfalds’ battle for a bottle depot has ended in victory, with town residents expected to be able to cash in their empties at a local site by summer.

Cosmos Bottle Depots Ltd., which currently operates at two locations in Red Deer, has won approval from Alberta’s Beverage Container Management Board to expand into Blackfalds. Lynda Olson, executive director of the Cosmos Group of Companies, said the Blackfalds Bottle Depot will operate out of a 5,000-square-foot building near the town’s waste transfer site on the southeast corner of the community.

“We’re just about ready to start pouring the pilings,” she said, adding that the new facility should open between mid-June and mid-July.

Blackfalds Mayor Melodie Stol said the news was “fantastic.” She and other town officials had fought hard for a bottle depot after Alberta’s Beverage Container Management Board rejected such a facility.

The board’s policy is not to allow bottle depots in rural areas to be within 24 km of each other. The depot in Bentley is only 19 km away, although city depots in Lacombe and Red Deer are nearer.

Ultimately, however, the board decided to make a rare exception to its policy in the case of Blackfalds, said Jason London, its director of operations.

“They did kind of stand out. When you look at a list of communities in Alberta and their sizes, Blackfalds is really the only community of that size that didn’t have a bottle depot.”

He also noted that the town lobbied hard for the exception.

“There was some really strong advocacy from the mayor and community.”

Once the decision was made to allow a bottle depot in Blackfalds, about a dozen parties expressed interest, said London.

But only two responded to a request for applications from the Beverage Container Management Board, with Cosmos being one.

Olson said the Blackfalds Bottle Depot will be similar to Cosmos’s Red Deer depots.

She added that it will benefit from existing resources, including Cosmos’s administration and specialized computing system.

About four new jobs are expected to be created, said Olson, with these being advertised in Blackfalds now.

A resident of the town herself, Olson is confident the rapidly growing community will be a good market for Cosmos.

“We already, at both of our depots, handle a number of bottle drives from Blackfalds.”

Having a local place to return cans and bottles should increase the incentive to recycle, she said, and benefit the environment.

Cosmos accepts all beverage containers for which a deposit was paid in Alberta.

It pays 10 cents for containers that hold less that one litre and 25 cents for those that contain more. Proceeds from the bottle depots are used to help finance Cosmos’s community programs and services.

KevRan Developments Inc. of Red Deer is the contractor for the Blackfalds Bottle Depot project.

hrichards@reddeeradvocate.com

 

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