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Recycling program needs pause: Esquimalt council

Esquimalt council unanimously supported sending a letter to B.C. Premier Christy Clark requesting the province take a step back on implementing a new recycling stewardship program, Multi Materials B.C.

Coun. Dave Hodgins brought forward the motion at Monday night's council meeting after speaking with stakeholders in print media, he said.

"There's a concern there needs to be more review and consultation and more engagement with the private sector, who obviously will have to live with MMBC," Hodgins said.

The program, mandated by the province, aims to make retailers and other generators of packaging and paper shoulder the full cost of recycling it, rather than municipalities.

But various sectors, including newspapers, have balked at the high fees MMBC plans to charge and say the agency is controlled by Ontario-based corporate executives who are protecting their firms' interests at the expense of others.

"It's not that we're opposed to MMBC, we just see think it's fair and equitable if there's more time taken and enhanced engagement done to get to the right product," Hodgins said. "Let's push the pause button."

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business and a coalition of affected industries continue to lobby the province to rethink the handover to MMBC, which is slated for May 19. The coalition launched its website, rethinkitbc.ca, last month.

Premier Christy Clark told reporters April 2 the province isn't considering a delay in implementation, and said Environment Minister Mary Polak is continuing to work to address unresolved issues.

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