New SARCAN depot officially opens

MLA Joe Hargrave cuts the ribbon to officially open the new SARCAN Express depot. Photo courtesy Joy Schewaga.

Grand opening, ribbon cutting held Friday

Prince Albert’s newest, biggest bottle depot officially opened Friday as the new SARCAN express location celebrated its grand opening.

The new location has been operating since July in a bigger better building about four blocks from the old location.

If features five return bays (up from three) and the new SARCAN drop and go program, where people can drop off their returns, tag their bags and go. The refund will be delivered online through PayPal or through a cheque. Several other locations around Saskatchewan already have drop and go, but the feature is new for Prince Albert.

Several dignitaries were on hand Friday to witness the grand opening and celebrate one of the province’s oldest SARCAN operations.

“We’re very excited. It’s state-of-the-art” said Community Services Centre (CSC) executive director Bill Powalinsky.

The CSC operates the city’s two SARCAN depots through a subsidiary. Profits from the operation are then funnelled into CSC’s employment programs.

“The old depot was designed to process 6 million containers a year, and we’ve been running at about 14 million at this particular location. This facility will help us meet that demand, and there’s also room for expansion,” he continued.

CSC will also continue operating the north location, across the river. That depot also processes paint and recycled electronics. That location handles about 16 million beverage containers annually.

The two bottle depots are vitally important to the CSC.

“Money that comes back through the management fee and processing fees gets reinvested into employment programs for people who need work placements or work assessments,” Powalinsky explained.

“It’s a very vital piece of our organization.”

CSC found the new building in November and began the process of creating a new depot. On July 4, operations were transferred to the new location.

Prince Albert’s bottle depot opened in 1988 as one of the province’s first. The express depot — the one that celebrated its grand reopening Friday — opened in 1995.

‘We’ve been diverting millions of pounds from the landfill since we opened,” Powalinsky said.

“We operate under the three ‘e’s — employment, environment and economic development.”

According to Powalinsky, the depot employs about 30 people during the year, protects the environment by keeping things out of the landfull and puts about $3 million back into the economy annually.

“When the community supports us, it goes right back into benefitting the local community,” Powalinsky said.

He was also focused on the three ‘g’s.

“It’s a glad day, it’s a glorious day and we’re full of gratitude for everyone who pulled behind the project to make it happen.”

Chamber of Commerce CEO Larry Fladager was also on hand for the grand opening.

He was encouraged seeing a successful endeavour invest and expand in Prince Albert.

“it’s a significant investment in this economy and this city,” Fladager said.

“When people are buying things and investing in the community, it’s a win-win for everyone.”

Fladager also called the model – which employs people, keeps things out of the landfill and supports employment projects a win-win.

“It’s a great initiative supported by the province and that organization,” Fladager said.

“I don’t know if there’s a better formula out there.”