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    Holding the plastics industry accountable for plastic pellets accumulation on south shore

    The plastics industry has made commitments to the city of Chestermere to take responsibility for the accumulation of plastic pellets in the south end of the lake.

    “The lower edge is clean. It’s the upper level of the shoreline,” said Parks and Recreation Manager of Community Operations Kathy Russell.

    “Out of every crisis comes opportunity, we had the opportunity to build solid relationships with several partners including the city of Calgary,” Russell said.

    Over 90 inspections have been conducted within the Calgary city limits, to determine the spill of the plastic pellets. However, a source hasn’t been identified.

    Housekeeping procedures have been identified that need to be approved on, and the city of Calgary has had workshops with the plastics industry to share the best practices and expectations, Russell said.

    “The Western Irrigation District (WID), has assumed responsibility to manage and plan for removal of garbage and the pellets,” Russell said.

    To remove the plastic pellets, WID must prepare the site, hydrovac the affected area, and transport the material to the Calgary landfill, which will take roughly four days to complete.

    “The city of Calgary has committed $10,000 towards the disposal fees,” Russell said.

    Once WID has a clear idea of the cost and scope of work, the city of Chestermere will send a letter to the plastics industry with an ask to cover all the direct costs of the project.

    If the project is completed within four days, the estimated cost is around $27,000, Russell said.

    “In conversation with the plastics industry, there is a willingness to step up and take responsibility to assist,” Russell said.

    Councillor Yvette Wagner recognizes the amount of work the city of Calgary has done to get to this point.

    “I am a hard no for funding this clean up that we did not in any way cause within our boundaries,” Wagner said.

    “I am adamant that our city should not be paying for any of this cleanup,” she added.

    From an outcome perspective of the Chestermere Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Bernie Morton, receiving commitments from WID, the city of Calgary with financial contributions, and the plastics industry to take responsibility doesn’t get much better.

    “Given the fact that the plastics industry has garnered quite a bit of scrutiny as of late, they want to do everything they possibly can to not deteriorate our relationships,” Morton said.