'It is an eyesore': Tire piles grow after cuts to Sask. recycling program
69 RMs in surrounding areas are still waiting on pickup
Some rural residents in Saskatchewan are upset since the Ministry of Environment put the brakes on a program that used to clean up tires on private property and farmland.
"Honestly, it is an eyesore," said Leslie Clark, a councillor for the RM of Parkdale, surrounding the hamlet of Glaslyn in northwest Saskatchewan.
The Black Gold Rush program offered by the Saskatchewan Scrap Tire Corporation gave landowners the opportunity to recycle tires for free.
Until the program came to a halt in June, 227 RMs in Saskatchewan had benefited from it. The remaining 69 RMs, near Regina and in the northwest, are still waiting.
"This isn't just happening in our RM. This is happening across the province," Clark said.
Although most tire retailers offer recycling for a small fee, Clark said it's not easy for everyone to haul several dozen tires.
She estimates that in the RM of Parkdale alone, more than 250 farmers are stuck with up to 50 tires on their property.
"People don't want to see these tires sit in a landfill forever."
Improperly stored tires provide an ideal breeding ground for mosquitos, which has the potential to spread the West Nile Virus.
For Clark, the tires also represent a fire threat.
"I live in a Boreal Forest and a forest flare is probably our biggest threat," the Turtle Lake resident said. "If those tires go up, that could be absolutely devastating."
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Hopes for a solution
The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities addressed the issue during its mid-term convention this week.
The organization agreed to press the government to reinstate the program with the Tire Stewardship of Saskatchewan — a not-for-profit organization established after the Black Gold Rush program was put on hold.
The government said there are still options for people with scrap tires. The Tire Stewardship offers the Return to Retailer Program. Saskatchewan residents can return up to 10 tires daily to certain tire retailers across the province.
Additionally, the Tire Stewardship is developing a program to manage legacy stockpiles of tires, like ones found in the RM of Parkdale. Landowners are encouraged to contact the tire stewardship directly for more information.