Cash not legal tender at Eco Depot

letter to the editor from Walt McKirdy - Cash not legal tender at Eco Depot

To the editor;

I wrote the following letter to the TNRD on April 27, 2013, and have not had a response as yet, I followed up with two more letters addressed to Dennis LaBrie, Operations Supervisor, and Jamie Vieira, TNRD Environmental Services  May 20,  with no reply.  I would have hoped that our TNRD representatives would have also gotten back with some solution or answers to the questions posed. What is interesting that they have now changed the information on their website to show that no Eco Depots take cash except Heffley Creek so perhaps they did read my letter?

Dear Sirs/Madame;

Please accept this letter as my formal notice and letter of complaint in regards to the Payment methods accepted by the Louis Creek Eco-Depot.

On Saturday April 27, I took a load of garbage to the Louis Creek Eco-Depo.  Upon arrival I was asked my preferred method of payment, I told the attendant cash, which was then stated to me “we don’t take cash”  I had to drive into Barriere, to try and find an Eco card…the two places that are listed to have these Eco cards are AG Foods and the District of Barriere.  AG Foods did not have any and stated they haven’t had them for awhile, and of course being a Saturday the District office was closed.  I then tracked down my wife to get my credit card and returned to the Eco Depot.  After dumping my garbage, I attempted to pay with my credit card. I only use it in emergencies and was unfamiliar with the pin number, so it didn’t work.   I do not have a debit card, and the nearest place to maybe find an Eco Card I was told by the attendant was Heffley General Store.  I was not allowed to pay cash after the service was rendered, which is legal Canadian tender.    I actually had to borrow an Eco card from someone else to pay my debt.

This is the most ridiculous payment system I have ever seen.  Here are some facts that TNRD may or may not be aware of:

Fact: In Canada, coins produced by the Royal Mint and notes issued by the Bank of Canada are legal tender. Private bank deposits are not legal tender in the US or Canada, nor are credit cards or traveller’s cheques.

Fact: It is true that no federal law mandates that a person or an organization must accept currency or coins as payment for goods or services not yet provided.

Fact:  However, if the service has been rendered, legal tender is by law to be accepted unless it is payment by coins where the currency act has stated certain restriction in the amount allowed to be paid by coin.

So, by not accepting my legal tender, after the service was rendered, even after every effort was made to make payment under your payment rules, was illegal.

I was told by our district TNRD representative, that not taking cash was a WorkSafeBC mandate.  If this were true…why then do every other Regional District in British Columbia state on their respective websites that their methods of payment include cash?

Your own website states that you take cash as a payment at this Eco-Depot.

What would happen if:  Your total amount exceeded your available balance on the Eco-card, and all you had was cash? Keep in mind the service is rendered, because the total amount due is not calculated until you go on the scale and then come back empty to be re-weighed.

What will happen in the future if a person’s credit card or debit card failed to work, but they could satisfy the debt with cash?  Again keep in mind the service has been rendered.

If you are worried about being “robbed” it seems everything is so electronical this would hardly be an issue, especially if there was a money drop system installed.

If you cannot find staff that can make change and handle cash money, hire new staff.

If you feel your staff cannot be trusted with cash…hire new staff.

Perhaps it might be prudent to contact the Regional Districts of Central Okanagan, Fraser – Fort George, Columbia-Shuswap, Comox Valley, Cowichan Valley, and the rest of the districts… see how they manage to have cash payments available in their facilities.

Perhaps also it might be advisable to consider that not  ALL people have bank cards or credit cards, by choice, or not.  This is a public service, which should be available to the public including the citizens who still work on the system of cash.  I use my credit card for emergencies; I do not consider that dumping a load of garbage for the total sum of $6.60 an emergency.

Walt McKirdy


Barriere, B.C.