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2014 January Pender Post

The start of a new year is an ideal time to review the Pender Island Recycling Society (PIRS) operations for 2013. In many ways 2013 was a terrific year for recycling on Pender. Backhauls hit record levels, and the role of recycling in the province and on Pender continued to grow, with an increasing array of electrical and other products which we can now accept at no charge (see for an up-to-date list). The board and staff, with the assistance of the CRD, continue to make changes and upgrades to the property, buildings and equipment at the depot, in order to make recycling on Pender a safer, more efficient and pleasant experience for a11.

On the people side, Richard Philpot turned in his manager’s hat and has moved on to a new phase of accomplishments and successes in his life. It is never easy to lose a leader and contributor of Richard’s calibre but that is the nature of growth and challenge. Les Quitzau has stepped into the Depot Manager’s position and is doing a heck of a fine job, as he deals with new issues and puts his own positive stamp on the position and organization, just as his predecessors have. Toward the end of 2013, we added two new board members, Robb Zuk and Denny Ferguson, who bring unique skills and energy to a board that is delighted to welcome them.

Ann Douglas, our amazing bookkeeper/accountant, continues to improve our systems of banking, record keeping, and the never simple, always mysterious tasks of dealing with various levels of government. The longer we know Ann, the more amazed we are at her array of talents. No doubt if we need one, Ann will probably step up and knit or crochet a new building or storage shed.

Some changes we seek and others are thrust upon us. In the latter category, we are dealing with changes in how recycling is funded in the province. In recognition of the fact that product obsolescence and packaging are major contributors to the materials we recycle, funding of the recycling industry is slowly moving from government to the manufacturers. Just how this will impact our operations is uncertain but we, along with our CRD partners, are deeply involved in negotiations that will carve the new relationships and directions. Recycling solutions that work in metropolitan areas rarely can be replicated, cookie-cutter style, to smaller, unique outlying areas – like a small Gulf Island. Funding is no exception. Funding changes won’t be immediate but there will be changes. We will keep you informed.

Speaking of changes, as we head into 2014 and the new membership year, you will note that the annual PIRS membership fee has finally increased to $15. Increased operating costs – fuel, utilities, ferry transportation and maintenance costs – are facts of life. Recycling staff members are not getting rich, and that fact won’t change, but we do want to maintain a sound economic base and we do want our staff salaries to remain competitive and in keeping with the terrific job they do . . . often under quite unpleasant weather, or wasp conditions. PIRS membership, at $15, is still a deal. You can’t be the first to renew your membership for 2014. Les Quitzau slapped his $15 on the table to claim that honour, but we look forward to many renewals and many new members.

Finally, from our staff and board, best wishes for a healthy and prosperous 2014. The board and I also offer our best 2014 wishes to the hardest working, friendliest staff on the island, Les Quitzau, Michelle Marsden, Jenn Kaila, Angie Bowns, Celene Wilde, Anna Herlitz, Jane Harrison Andy Nowak and Ann Douglas, Laurie Brown and Jackson, our favourite fiddle playin’ bike mechanic, all of whom help to ensure that they’re all good days on Pender.

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