City Hall investigating whether textile collection bins could help finance addiction recovery centre in Barrie

Cornerstones To Recovery has been fully funded thanks to textile collection

A pathway to local addiction recovery could lay in the collection of Barrie’s used textiles.

Cornerstone to Recovery is a treatment centre operating out of York Region for the last 18 years, using a unique business model; it collects used textiles from across the area using public collection bins, with 100% of the proceeds going towards the funding of the centre. Barrie Councillor Natalie Harris thinks it could work in Barrie, supporting plans to build such a facility in the city using this model. “Cornerstone is currently fundraising to expand and build a women’s addiction treatment facility, which they estimate will cost about $2 million to build,” said Councillor Natalie Harris, “Cornerstone already has received, or has commitment to receive, $1.5 million, so they are already well underway to meeting their fundraising goal.”

“One hundred per cent of the revenue of the collection of textiles, through the City of Barrie and Cornerstone, will be used to treat addiction and mental health in Barrie, with zero cost to the city,” Harris added.

Harris proposed at Monday night’s City Hall meeting that city staff examine the feasibility of the project, whether it would work in Barrie, or, as Councillor Clare Riepma pointed out, would it be misused. “I think one of the things that the report should cover is how will we deal with these bins?” Riepma inquired during the meeting, “because they tend to be focal points for all kinds of junk that go into them,”

Councillor Harris says the bins being used by Cornerstone have sensors built-in, letting collectors know when its time to empty it. She added that refuse and textiles will be sorted by Cornerstone.

An added benefit of the program, according to Harris, is the ecological and economic benefit. “based on calculations done by Cornerstone and adjusted for the city of Barrie’s population, (it is estimated) we will divert approximately 2.5 million pounds of textiles and household items from going into our landfill per year. With Barrie’s tipping fees this will save the city and its taxpayers approximately $170,000 annually.”

The feasibility study by city staff is expected back in several weeks’ time. Harris says the new treatment facility could open as early as 2021 should the city move fast enough. No firm decision has been made on its location.