A new executive board has stepped up to save the Kitimat Understanding the Environment (KUTE) recycling depot.
This development comes as the parting KUTE executive team posted on their website last month that the depot would close unless a new team of volunteers came out to their Annual General Meeting (AGM).
The AGM on May 26 saw at least twenty-five new people in attendance and went “very, very well” according to outgoing president Barb Hall.
The current three-member board was not only replaced by new volunteers, but nine people stepped up to be on the incoming executive board.
The three positions that the board hoped to fill at this AGM was Hall’s position as president and Ken Maitland and Doug Hughan’s positions as directors.
The new board holds nine positions with president Peter King, vice-president Michelle Martins, treasurer Elizabeth Cloakey, secretary David Brown, and five directors at large David Sivyer, Nicole Goffinet, Melissa Thomas, Cory Haupt, and Brian Andrews.
All of these board members are completely new to KUTE and the outgoing team is trying to take the transition as smooth as possible.
“We are very pleased and grateful to all the people that showed up and will work closely with this new board,” said Hall of the transition.
Concerns had been raised that a new board would not step up because “over the last several years there have been no new people at the AGMs,” explained Hall.
“The whole thing with KUTE has become more complex and, with just three of us running it, we really started to run out of steam,” she said.
All three executives felt that they must step down for personal reasons and were alarmed that there might be no one to take over the project.
KUTE is the only recycling depot in Kitimat and has been run by a volunteer executive board for 24 years.
In April, the board made a post titled “The KUTE Crisis” on their website stating that “without a new executive KUTE will fold and the Kitimat Recycling Depot will be closed.”
This spurred Kitimat residents into action as they came out to offer their support for KUTE.
Other attendees at the AGM expressed interest in becoming involved in KUTE on a smaller scale.
The Kitimat recycling depot employs three to four full time employees at their facility open six days a week.
The depot recycles electronics, small appliances, power tools, cell phones, batteries, light bulbs, and smoke alarms in addition to cans and paper.
KUTE began in 1990 when students from Mount Elizabeth Secondary School took on an environmental challenge. They soon realized there was not only a need for a depot in Kitimat, but the project was too large for them to handle.
That was when they passed the idea over to the adults which grew the society from 1991 onwards. They have been at their current location on Railway Ave. since 1995.
KUTE holds AGMs usually in October to get the public involved and also runs environmental awareness programs in the community.
– Cécile Favron