ATV retailers tired out

David Whalen
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No recycling program in place

The city's ATV dealers are nearing wit's end.

For years, they have had to deal with the headaches associated with growing mounds of ATV tires on their lots.

Seeing those piles get bigger is a simply a reality of business for Bill Green, manager of Honda One Motorcycles and Power Equipment on Topsail Road.

Bill Green, manager of Honda One on Topsail Road, poses with just a few of the hundreds of ATV tires that he has no way to dispose of. - Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

The city's ATV dealers are nearing wit's end.

For years, they have had to deal with the headaches associated with growing mounds of ATV tires on their lots.

Seeing those piles get bigger is a simply a reality of business for Bill Green, manager of Honda One Motorcycles and Power Equipment on Topsail Road.

"We're getting a fine pyramid out there," Green said. "I'd say I've got at least two dump trucks full."

The Multi-Materials Stewardship Board (MMSB), the government agency responsible for waste management programs in the province, has a program in place to recycle most kinds of car tires - it will even pick them up from retailers - but not smaller ATV tires.

Currently, retailers pay a levy of $3 for each tire 17 inches or less in diameter and $9 for each tire between 17 and 24.5 inches in diameter. No such levy exists for smaller ATV tires, meaning the MMSB won't recycle them or even collect them from retailers.

Green and other owners have been asking the government to restructure its program.

"It's been going on for a long time and hasn't been resolved," he said. "That was supposed to have been looked after three or four years ago." However, nothing has materialized out of the discussions.

"Government's response is, 'you're not being charged a levy so what are you worried about'?" he said. "Yet they pile up.

"Eventually our insurance is going to come in say 'listen, that's a fire hazard', which it is. But there's nowhere to recycle disposed of ATV tires," Green said.

Officials with the MMSB's tire-recycling program couldn't be reached for comment.

Rod Snelgrove, manager of Coastal Marine and Recreation, sympathizes with Green. This past winter, with large snow banks exacerbating the problem, fire inspectors told him he had to do something about the problem.

He and others have had to be creative in finding ways rid themselves of the rubber menace.

Snelgrove donates many of his used ATV tires to local race tracks, who use them to the line the walls of the track.

"It's a nuisance," he said. "The race tracks will only take so many, so it will come to a head."

Gives tires to boat/wharf owners

Steve Ryan, manager of Atlantic Recreation Ltd., agrees. He gives many of his tires to seafaring types.

"We donate them to a lot of people with wharves and docks and they tie them on the side of their boats," Ryan said.

At one time, before environmental concerns sprung up, people and businesses would simply throw the tires away. Green said many ATV users would still do that if retailers didn't take them back.

"If you give them back to the customers, they're just going to throw them out in the woods," he said.

Snelgrove believes recycling ATV tires would actually be easier than other tires, given the fact that they're smaller and contain less wire than standard tires.

"It's weird. You'd think that, by now, with everybody so aware of recycling and all these new green systems, there'd be a way to get rid of ATV tires," he said. "It would be much easier to recycle."

For now, ATV retailers are running out of ideas for their unwanted pyramids of treaded rubber.

"There's only so many wharves," Snelgrove said.

"It's got to end."

david_whalen@hotmail.com

Organizations: Multi-Materials Stewardship Board, Power Equipment, Atlantic Recreation

Geographic location: Topsail Road

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