The Westman Recycling Council was started by a small group of avid recyclers with financial and volunteer help from the Kiwanis Club of Brandon, among others. Volunteers organized the first outdoor recycling depots in June and October 1989. The first event with recorded minutes was the first annual meeting, November 15, 1989.
The organization was incorporated in February 1990, and became a registered charity in 1995. The Mission Statement was: "to support and promote the reduction, re-use, and recycling of material resources for the benefit of Westman's environment and future generations."
The major partner in the work of the organization was the City of Brandon. In 2003, Westman Recycling, in partnership with the City, built a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) at the Brandon Landfill; Westman Recycling owned the building on the City-owned land. It was a $4 million structure - financed by federal and provincial grants (about one-quarter of the total) and a mortgage (about three-quarters). Details are in the Board and other Committee minutes and agreements.
In late 2005, Westman Recycling faced a severe cash crunch - as a result of poor markets for recyclables, changes in support funding from the Manitoba Product Stewardship Corporation (MPSC), and a drop in public recycling levels. In February 2006, the City decided to sign a contract with another organization to operate the MRF; after that there appeared to be no role for Westman Recycling.
A general meeting on September 22, 2008 voted to dissolve the organization. At that meeting, the suggestion was made (agreed to by consensus) that the files of the organization be donated to Brandon University to be made available for researchers. A Board of Directors meeting on the same date voted to donate all remaining funds to a perpetual "Westman Recycling" fund with the Brandon Area Community Foundation.
A final wind-up meeting was held on March 26, 2009
The organization was overseen by volunteers / volunteer Board of Directors. The files were first held by volunteers / Board members in their homes. In May 1991, the organization hired David McConkey as Coordinator / General Manager, who was directed by the Board to manage the files on a daily basis from that date forward.
The files were kept in the organization's rented office space in the 1300 block of Pacific Avenue from May 1991 to September 1992, and then in the rented space in the Massey building at 6th Street and Pacific Avenue. The files were kept at the new facility at the landfill from April 2003 to February 2006. They were then stored in the basement of the Marquis Project, 912 Rosser Avenue, until August 2011 when they were donated to the S.J. McKee Archives, Brandon University.
Some files (e.g. minutes from 1995-96) were found to be missing entirely. Other files were disposed of by recycling and/or shredding as they were judged to be confidential (e.g. personnel), of an ordinary business nature only (e.g. invoices), or not useful for future research (e.g. extra copies, routine correspondence, building and equipment plans and other arrangements).
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of records that document the origin, activities, demise, and legacy of the Westman Recycling Council. Records include minutes, financial summaries, scrapbooks, newsletters, brochures, media clippings, photographs and miscellaneous documents related to the construction in collaboration with the City of Brandon of Brandon's principal recycling facility.
Administrative history courtesy David McConkey. See additional notes on the organization in the curatorial file. Description by Tom Mitchell.