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Lacombe passed over for provincial recycling program

Most other communities will have recycling collection covered by provincial program
Lacombe city council is upset that the community is being left out of a provincially funded recycling program enjoyed by many other communities, including Red Deer. (Advocate file photo)

Lacombe city council is steamed the city is being denied a provincially funded curbside recycling program that neighbouring municipalities will enjoy.

Under the Extended Producer Responsibility program, communities across the province, including Red Deer, Blackfalds, Sylvan Lake and Ponoka in central Alberta, will get curbside recycling at no cost to residents. The service is funded through levies applied to consumer products.

Under the program, municipalities which have curb-side recycling costs covered by the province in 2025. Communities with no recycling program would be in line for a provincially funded program by the end of 2026.

However, Lacombe has been left out. At least until, 2026 when its bid to be included may be reviewed.

City council sent a letter to Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr who confirmed that Lacombe’s absence from the program was not an oversight, but that Lacombe was intentionally left out. The reason was that since last Nov. 30 Lacombe collected recyclables using a depot system.

“This puts Lacombe in an unfair position,” Lacombe operations and planning director Jordan Thompson told council at its committee of the whole meeting earlier this week.

Lacombe opted not to go to curbside recycling because of the cost and concerns about what the end-use would be of the recyclables collected.

Thompson said all Albertans contribute to the EPR program when they buy products.

“All Albertans are paying for that service, including Lacombe residents,” said Thompson.

“Other municipalities will receive a curbside recycling service that Lacombe is not providing under this program and that citizens of Lacombe will be paying for a service that is being provided to other municipalities.”

Lacombe is not alone in being denied recycling. The city is reaching out to other municipalities affected to look at providing a unified voice when asking the province to reconsider.

“I just wanted to advise council this is still on our radar, that we’re continuing to pursue change of heart from the province and that we hope that it does some positive feedback in the future.”

Mayor Grant Creasey said he finds it “extremely disappointing that the citizens of Lacombe will be at a disadvantage in a program that they are forced to participate in because the people in this room have chosen to be responsible with taxpayers’ dollars.

“That they are somehow disadvantaged is wholly unacceptable, in my opinion,” he said.”I have a hard time figuring out how they could treat one municipality so much different than others across the province. It’s quite ridiculous.”

Several councillors voiced their hope that the issue was brought to the public’s attention to put pressure on the province to listen to concerns.

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Paul Cowley

About the Author: Paul Cowley

Paul grew up in Brampton, Ont. and began his journalism career in 1990 at the Alaska Highway News in Fort. St. John, B.C.
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