City View – Now Farbridge suggests waste incineration is a benefit to Guelph.

Posted May 25, 2013

It took Mayor Karen Farbridge six years to discover her environmental agenda was not working. People are alienated by council’s decisions to spend on expensive capital projects totaling some $130 million without public recourse or discussion.

Well, the money has been spent. What do we have to show for it?

We have a $36 million organic waste processing plant that requires the Region of Waterloo to supply 20,000 tonnes, of the plant’s projected 30,000 tonne capacity. Guelph only generates 10,000 tonnes of organic waste material to the plant.

So Guelph taxpayers are subsidizing the taxpayers of Waterloo. Why? Because the advertized per tonne processing charge to the Region is $141 per tonne. Problem is the Guelph waste management mavens who concocted this plan refuses to reveal the operating costs.

In 2012 the plant processed more than 17,338 tonnes producing some 3,414 tonnes of compost. That was sold to a farmer in Atwood, Ontario but the price was never revealed so cost recovery cannot be measured.

Well, that sounds like a bargain spending your $51 million to rebuild Guelph’s waste management, N’est pas?

When giving her state of the city address earlier this year Mayor Karen Farbridge floated the idea of burning garbage to create electricity and heat for commercial enterprise. This week her idea was reinforced by a ten-year deal to send orphan garbage (the stuff they can’t recycle or process) to a Waste Management landfill that is located 181 kms from Guelph. In 2012, 48,715 tonnes was shipped to the St. Thomas Landfill plus another 105 tonnes to a facility on New York State.

So the Guelph waste landfill diversion plan appears to be an abject failure processing 105,915 tonnes in 2012. It includes composting 17,338 of wet waste, recycling 40,370 tonnes, 8,163 tonnes of brush, leaves and yard waste and processing 40,377 tonnes of mixed solid waste.

The new Waste Management site uses methane gas to generate power. Isn’t that what we are doing here in Guelph at the old Eastview landfill site?

So, Madame Mayor, is waste incineration now back on the table? Is there now a realization that this was the route to follow six years ago when you and your dewy-eyed majority steamrolled your environmental waste management program through an unsuspecting public?

Instead we got an organic waste processing plant that can’t meet production targets. We get a waste management collection system costing $15 million that is taking three years to cover all households and commercial sites. The design of this system has already riled up residents with the city cancelling its collection of leaf and garden debris. Instead, residents must stuff their fallen leaves and garden debris into a small container to be picked up buy our new automated truck system.

And now the city won’t pick up used Christmas trees.

This is something out of Kafka.


Filed under Between the Lines

4 responses to “City View – Now Farbridge suggests waste incineration is a benefit to Guelph.

  1. paul

    Farbridge certainly appears to be out of touch with reality…..the sooner she is knocked out of her ivory tower of bliss and ignorance the better off the city will be.

  2. Glen N. Tolhurst

    Even something as surreal as the above missteps and fumbling could not have been penned by Kafka. Real good move: pay to truck garbage 181 km to be incinerated so someone else can reap the benefit of energy recuperation.

  3. Milton Burns

    Finally the truth has been revealed. Cost is not the most important factor when the management of Guelph’s waste operation make decisions. According to Dean Wyman,5 criteria were considered in awarding a recent contract with price only accounting for 40%. Think about that! When was the last time you made a major purchase where the price as only a minor consideration in your decision making process. Such a management style as outlined in the above article gores a long way in explaining why the cost per capita for Guelph waste was $157.01 while our neighbours to the west, Waterloo Region had costs of only $51.46 per capita. All figures are for the year 2011 (the latest available) from the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs.

    • Milton Burns: Once again, the figures don’t lie. Why is the Guelph administration paying three times that of the Region of Waterloo on a per capita basis to manage waste? Six years ago the Farbridge dominated council blew the opportunity to spend capital to incinerate waste. This would have had a direct effect reducing the cost of electricity to every user in the city. But no, the environmental mavens on council chose another path that has turned out to be not only triple the cost of its peer, the Region of Waterloo, but the return is peanuts. This is but one of the tragic mistakes made by this administration to the detriment of the taxpayers. Now they want to poll some of us to discover why we don’t vote. I believe the answer will come October 27, 2014, they will discover why we voted to change the direction of city administration. Count the days and join the crusade for change.

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