City hall had no answers for what to do about its paper problem yesterday.

The collapse in the commodities market has put HRM in an awkward position with its thousands of tons of annual paper waste — cardboard, old newspapers, etc.

People can throw their paper out for free, but most businesses have to pay for it.


The system used to work well — businesses pay a fee to collectors, who sell the paper to recycling companies, who sell it again for a profit. But the market has all but disappeared.

Recycling companies have gone from buying paper to charging for it. And that cost is being passed to businesses and consumers.

Staff recommended holding off on acting, but some councillors argued that would just protect private companies while hurting customers.

“This effects every regional councilor, every district in this municipality. You are going to lay the load on the little guy because any cost goes back to the consumer, which is you and I, and every small business,” said Northwest Arm-South End Coun. Sue Uteck.

Some want the municipality to take all paper to their facility in Otter Lake, but that brings up more problems of space and cost.

In the end Council rejected staff’s proposal to keep the status quo and sent the issue back for more study.

Council approves small cabs

Council approved a motion to allow smaller cars enter the taxi fleet. The movie will allow more brands of hybrid cars to qualify for cab service. While some councillors raised concerns about accessibility and comfort in the smaller cars, the motion passed unanimously.

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