By Brian Fowler – Hampton Today Publisher
Hampton is my town. I went to school in Hampton. I’ve played hockey in Hampton. I’ve coached in Hampton. I’ve volunteered with multiple committees in Hampton over the last thirty years, including Committees of Council. I’ve even been approached during every municipal election in the past two decades to run for council in Hampton. The last point poses a problem though. You see, I don’t live in Hampton. I’ve never lived in Hampton and, most likely, never will. But Hampton is still my town.
What does any of this have to do with anything? Well, to many residents of the Local Service Districts surrounding this picturesque, friendly Southern New Brunswick community, Hampton has always been where we’ve gravitated for school, sports, social activities, shopping, banking and on and on. It is also where we were directed by the Fundy Region Service Commission to take our recycling, until 2018.
If you’ve been following the news of late, you will be aware that, in 2018, the Commission decided to remove their blue bins due to the cost of maintaining the service. To the Town of Hampton’s credit, they took on this support model, built their own bins and acquired staff and equipment to manage the recycling program. As a regular recycler, I was thrilled to have this service continued. Unfortunately, as often happens, it only takes a few to ruin it for the rest and the Town has recently been put in a position to advise non-residents they are no longer welcome to utilize this taxpayer funded service. From news articles and a CBC interview, we learn that the blue bin location has been attracting some unwanted visitors, namely those disposing of garbage and construction waste, along with Valley residents who apparently don’t have enough room in the curbside recycling buckets they’ve been provided by their own municipality. So, do I fault the Town for taking this stance? Not at all.
Was there an option? I think so. This is the same municipality who reached out a few years ago and asked the LSD residents to partner with them and financially support a new regional multipurpose facility. Full disclosure, I fully support this initiative and am happy to contribute. I’m not one for a free ride and strongly believe that everyone should pay their way. To that end, was there an opportunity for the powers that be in Hampton to reach out to their neighbours, who they normally like to include, explain the situation and give us the option to contribute to the funding of this service? I, for one, would happily pay to have my recycling processed. It broke my heart to put two bags of plastics out for garbage collection last week. In the spirit of community cooperation and collaboration, I hope we haven’t heard the last word on this story. I have faith in our council to do the right thing. Yes, our council. After all, Hampton is my town.
That’s the way I see it.