Representatives of Whitehorse's tire and trucking industries fear higher recycling fees could lead to lost business and higher operational costs.
They aired their concerns at a public consultation Tuesday night on the Yukon Government's proposed changes to its Designated Materials Regulation.
The changes would impose surcharges to be levied at the point of purchase, which would be used to offset the processing costs of recycleables. The added cost to tires would range from $7 to $50, depending on size.
The government says the changes will make recycling more financially viable and environmentally friendly. The new fees mean there will be no cost for Yukoners to dispose such items at the territory's landfills.
Heightened costs for business
But the increased cost to consumers is not sitting well with some members of the industry.
"If I was a trucking company buying hundreds, or thousands of tires sometimes, I would be buying them in Alberta," said Paul Bubiak, a manager at Integra Tire. "Why would I buy them in the Yukon and pay thousands of dollars more?"
The government previously held consultations on the issue in 2014, and had planned to introduce new fees on a number of products starting in August 2016, but halted the plan to further consult with the business community.
"We've been sitting down lately with some of the tire companies, some of the trucking companies, some of the people who use tires a lot, and they've got some great points," said Community Services Minister John Streicker. "I think it's important that people pay their share, but how the system is designed can make a real difference."
At the meeting, some attendees showed frustration over the consultation process.
"I feel there hasn't been a lot of public input," said Rick Copes with Kal Tire in Whitehorse. "And not a lot has been explained as to where the numbers are coming from."
He said he actually supports increased fees, but he'd like to know more about the government's process for determining them.
"I don't think anybody is opposing a change to the system or an increase to the fee," he said. "But I personally don't think there's been a lot of thought put into the actual pricing scheme and how much this is going to cost."
Input to be 'used directly'
Streicker said the government has looked closely at the numbers, but acknowledged the way it categorizes tires can make a big difference to businesses.
He said the information gathered at the public meeting "would be used directly."
"In some ways I wish that we would have had this type of meeting a little earlier," said Streicker. "These regulations have been proposed for five years now."
This round of consultations ends Feb. 1.