John Winter, President and CEO of the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, was in Kimberley for a Business Before Business breakfast with Kimberley Chamber members on Thursday morning, April 17.
Just prior to his public remarks the Bulletin was able to speak to Mr. Winter on an issue that is proving troublesome for the newspaper industry, that being the new MMBC recycling program.
Multi-Material British Columbia (MMBC) is a non-profit organization that will assume responsibility for managing residential packaging and printed paper (PPP) on behalf of industry in May 2014.
Currently, municipalities are being asked to sign contracts with MMBC for recycling services, although when it came up at Kimberley City Council last week, Council declined the contract, with Councillor Jack Ratcliffe commenting that program looked like a “disaster waiting to happen”.
What concerns the newspaper industry is that costs for recycling their printed product will rise to an estimated $14 million under the program.
The industry has been lobbying hard against that, saying that the new fees will cost jobs at community newspapers.
When asked about the MMBC and its effect on newspapers, Mr. Winter was sympathetic over what he called “bad legislation” but said it was likely too late to stop it at this point.
“It’s created and they have a financial model that says we have these costs we need to cover. If they were to take some of that estimated $10 to $14 million out, they would have to find it elsewhere. I don’t know what they would do about that.
“It’s craziness. The impact on your industry (newspapers) is huge. And the only way you can recover the costs is to raise advertising rates, which affects business. Every time you open your mouth it’s going to cost business more money.”
However, Mr. Winter says with the process so far, he doesn’t know what could stop it at this point.
“There’s no answer other than a politician with some gumption, and it has to be the Premier.”