By Margie Doyle
Updated Feb. 13 at 9 p.m.
The Exchange will rebuild, its Executive Director Mark DeTray told the County Council on Orcas Island today, Feb. 12.
And the Exchange on Orcas, formerly Orcas Recycling Services, fully expects to operate solid waste disposal functions as planned when the non-profit was awarded the contract to run the Orcas Transfer Station last November.
The Orcas Transfer Station was already on the agenda for today’s Council Meeting. Public Works employee Sam Gibboney, the new Solid Waste Program Administrator and Frank Mulcahy, Public Works Director, introduced DeTray at the Council’s morning session.
Gibboney said that soon after the fire at the Exchange broke out on Saturday afternoon, San Juan public works employees were on the site to help direct traffic; Russ Harvey secured the site at 10:30 p.m. Gibboney observed that the destruction of the fire could be an opportunity as well as a loss.
Mark DeTray said the Exchange, the recycling/resource center located on one of the lots owned by the county at the Orcas Transfer Station, would be rebuilt in “a systematic and responsible manner; the site cleaned up before bringing volunteers to the site.”
The non-profit Exchange on Orcas held only liability insurance on the destroyed buildings. Future structures will be insured for liability, rebuilding and , Gibboney said.
Not hazmat; only liability insurance in terms of the building;
Part of the community lost in losing that building; it’s a piece of history. We had plans to reconfigure the site, now those plans are accelerated. The opportunity is here to approach it in a responsible and expedient manner.
The Exchange on Orcas has contracted with Island Excavating to do the excavation. Metal and debris will be separated out, with San Juan Sanitation taking debris to the San Juan Island transfer station.
DeTray said he expects it will take two-plus months to getting any facility in place in terms of re-use. He said he’s been speaking with Orcas West Council member Rick Hughes in terms of interim solutions, locations, and services.
Rick Hughes emphasized that the Number one priority is to make sure the solid waste transfer goes forward; that Exchange on Orcas “is responsible to the community on the waste disposal site.”
DeTray agreed, saying “That’s our primary focus. All details with contractors are being finalized as we speak. The transfer station has allowed The Exchange [recycling center] to flourish as a “filter feeder” in the waste stream. We need to get the framework in operation and then get back into re-use.”
He noted the support of the community in offering materials, labor and funding to rebuild the historic — though ramshackle — recycling building.
Orcas East Council member Patty Miller said, “I’m happy to hear your approaching this in a systematic way. As we worked with Lopez in creative solutions, speaking for myself, I’m willing to exercise the same creativity in working with you.”
Gibboney reviewed the schedule for contract negotiations, public hearing and council review of the Orcas transfer station contract with Exchange on Orcas:
- Feb. 12 contract to Exchange on Orcas
- Feb 25, Council review of capital and operations contract (first touch)
- March 8 Notice of public hearing
- March 12 Council review of contract (second touch)
- March 18, Contract posted online
- March 26 public hearing during council session