The Cariboo Regional District’s share shed in Williams Lake is a busy spot.
Williams Lake Association for Community Living has had the contract to run the shed since last spring and job coach Cathie Durfeld has seen up to 35 vehicles in the parking lot at once.
“Since we’ve come in the volume has increased. People see it’s clean and organized,” Durfeld said at the site on Frizzi Road Friday.
Maranda Wycotte was working with Durfeld and as vehicles pulled up to drop off donations while other people waiting expectedly mulled through the donations, Wycotte said one of her jobs is to make sure things are kept clean.
“It’s neat in the sense that we meet different types of people,” she added.
Through a contract with the CRD, community living provides a job coach and an employee.
Figuring out when to provide employees has been a learning experience working with the CRD to find the right balance, Durfeld said.
In the winter, the shifts are four hours. In the summer they are seven hours.
“It’s so busy in May, June and July. We don’t have five minutes to sit down.”
Mitch Minchau, manager of environmental services for the CRD, said it’s better to have someone running the place.
“Without having anyone there it gets to be fairly disorganized,” Minchau said. “There tends to be more aggression between users, that sort of thing. It’s better to have someone directing folks to obey the rules.”
Since the share shed opened four years ago it has been run through a contract, however, community living has been able to provide more manned hours than previous contractees.
All of the recycling refuse sites have share sheds, with the one in Williams Lake being the largest, Minchau said.
Up to 12 people are employed at the share shed, with each person working one shift every other week, Durfeld explained.
They earn minimum wage and Wycotte, 29, said she uses her earnings to go bowling or enjoy other leisure activities.
She also works at shredding papers for local businesses.
A few years ago the association purchased and set up a commercial shredder so it could do confidential shredding.
“We also have a bin at the recycling lot for beverage bottles,” Durfeld said. “When people show up to do their recycling we ask them to put the bottles aside in the bin and then some of our workers will sort them.”
Durfeld has been a job coach for 35 years and said the people she’s worked with at community living are determined and hardworking.
“They never complain. We were out delivering hundreds of newspapers during last Wednesday’s big snowfall plus doing snow removal for businesses and private places and I didn’t hear a single person whine,” she said.
Once they settle into a job, they want to work, she added.
Minchau said share sheds fall within the CRD’s management strategy to encourage the public to reuse, reduce and recycle.
“It’s at the top of the pyramid if you like. It’s one of the first things we encourage people to do. If something has a useful life, why throw it in the landfill if someone else can make use of it.”
During the public review of the CRD’s facilities two years ago, staff heard that share sheds are very much appreciated by the public.
“They really wanted to see them continued,” Minchau said.