Kitimat recycling group gets their rent boost

KUTE gets a boost to their rent from the District after a rise with the renewal of their latest lease.

Kitimat Understanding the Environment (KUTE) has received their rent supplement from the District of Kitimat.

KUTE President Barb Hall had asked council at an earlier meeting for money to match the increased rent, when they would have to renew their lease with the building owner of their recycling depot.

Council asked District staff for a report following the presentation and the recommendation which came back was for council to approve the increase, which means $2,251.20 more a month.

“I think our staff is still looking at options in the longer term but this allows for KUTE operations to continue at its present location for a two year period, and if we find something better…we’ll entertain that in future discussions,” said Mario Feldhoff right before the decision.

Hall issued a statement following the decision by council, saying that they are thankful that the funding had been approved to cover their new rent.

“KUTE has been at our current location since May 1994 and has enjoyed a good relationship with the landlord,” she said. “They have been very generous to us by keeping the rent down for many years.”

She said they understand that costs have risen, “and the reality of supply and demand for space in Kitimat.”

She confirmed that they and the District of Kitimat have looked for other locations but have come up empty.

Doug Hughan, a KUTE board member, explained that previous ideas such as moving the depot to the landfill isn’t ideal given the services they need for a workplace but suggested places like Forest Avenue, another of council’s thoughts, could be better.

Even so, the current depot is well suited to their needs, he said.

Staff’s report to council also included a review of considerations of Kitimat’s former animal shelter location, on Enterprise Avenue, as a possible new recycling location, but it was found that location would be entirely too small.

The size is 40 per cent of the current KUTE depot, and only has a single garage area, with no capacity for efficient loading by forklift, the report continued.

KUTE’s new lease term is for two-years, and staff’s report said that time will give them options to explore whether they could eventually somehow team-up with a potential Multi-Material BC depot once that program gets underway.

The MMBC program is a province-wide recycling program that aims to bring curbside recycling to communities across the province, including Kitimat.

MMBC offered municipalities the option of being the provider of recycling pick-up and while many communities have signed on, Kitimat did not due to the concerns about post-collection placement of the materials and lingering questions about how much the program would actually cost.

With the District saying no, the collection program will eventually go to bid for a private contractor.

Hughan said MMBC could potentially move into the old animal shelter since their materials will be lighter than what KUTE handles.