The city could be leaving it up to a private contractor to handle recycling duties when curbside collection begins next spring.
During Monday night's meeting, city council will vote on whether to authorize staff to turn down a financial incentive from the group responsible for spearheading the province-wide recycling program - Multi Material BC (MMBC).
Municipalities already offering curbside garbage collection have the first right of refusal to provide the curbside recycling.
MMBC represents a variety of producers of packaging and printed paper products, which the province has legislated as being responsible for the stewardship of the materials they introduce to consumers as of May 2014.
This includes a wide range of materials such as plastic shopping bags, foam drink cups, cosmetic containers and some garden pots and trays.
The collection incentive offered to the city is up to $32 per household per year based on the household density, an amount per tonne for glass - collected separately from other materials - and a performance bonus if the amount of material collected reaches certain benchmarks.
By turning down the offer, the city would open the door for MMBC to issue a request for proposals to find a contractor to provide the service. The city could potentially put in a bid of its own.
In a report from operations superintendent Bill Gaal, the offered incentives - in addition to the $0.75 and $2.50 per household per year to top up education and administration costs, respectively - could total about $781,000. Operating a biweekly curbside recycling program would be closer to $1 million.
Among the issues Gaal identified with signing on to the MMBC proposal were: the city having to provide all containers required for the program; the city having to deliver collected materials to the MMBC-selected processor, which can be anywhere within a 60-kilometre radius; and possible fines to the tune of $5,000 per load if a load is contaminated with more than three per cent of non-accepted material.
"This offer comes with a service contract that is prohibitively favourable to MMBC and would, if the city were to participate, expose the city to some financial risk," Gaal wrote in his report.
Coun. Cameron Stolz raised concerns with the financial penalty during a recent Regional District of Fraser-Fort George board of directors meeting when MMBC managing director Allen Langdon was present to address the plan.
"Where the challenge comes is that established communities that have long-standing recycling programs - Metro Vancouver, Kamloops - are in the five to seven per cent contamination rate," said Stolz, who chairs the regional district's committee on curbside recycling recommendations.
Langdon said the fine would be a last-resort option for service providers that aren't making an effort to comply with requirements.
Municipalities have until Sept. 16 to respond to MMBC's offer.