Walmer church recycling facility to reopen

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A recycling facility set up and run by the Methodist Church in Walmer has been temporarily shut down after a small fire was started — allegedly by a group of young children.

The recycling centre had a monthly intake of roughly 31 tons of recyclable goods, according to Jeremy Stobbs, who runs the facility.

However, in late 2019 the facility was shut down, with the fire brigade claiming it was a fire hazard.

Ina Randall, a resident of  Villiers Road, Walmer, has made use of the facility for many years and says there have not been any problems there in the past.

“It was a very nice recycling facility and much used by locals,” Randall said.

According to Randall, who is not a member of the Methodist Church in Main Road, the facility was important for community development, with  funds raised in this way going towards a feeding scheme.

“It is very sad. There were never any problems there [and then] some naughty children started the fire,” Randall said.

Stobbs said some of the recycling equipment had been set alight in what was the first fire at the facility since it was started 12 years before.

“Someone came and set the equipment alight.

“It did not cause great damage, but we had to shut the centre down,” Stobbs said.

After consultations with the fire department it was decided not to shut the facility down for good, but rather to ensure it was compliant with regulations, he added.

This included removal of all flammable items, and that the facility  needed to be closed off and operate only between 8am and 5pm.

“The only way we can do this is for the centre to be locked up completely,” Stobbs said.

With more than 30 tons of recyclable waste collected a month, he said, the little money generated by the recycling went to the Bread of Life feeding scheme.

The scheme, initiated by the church in 2001 in response to the need of families in the Walmer Township area, assists 160 families with food parcels and mentoring.

Stobbs said once church elders returned from leave there would be a meeting to discuss a way forward.

“It has been agreed not to close the centre.

“Once all the elders are back we will have a meeting to discuss the matter.”

Municipal spokesperson Mthubanzi Mniki failed to respond to a request for comment.

After initially answering a call from Weekend Post, Mniki asked that an e-mail be sent.

By late afternoon on Friday he had not responded to the e-mail and did not answer subsequent phone calls.