Posted June 12, 2013
Waterloo Region finance and administration manager in the waste management division, Shahin Virani, said recently that the contract cut with Guelph to compost 20,000 tonnes of its wet waste remains a good deal for the Region.
Here are the numbers: Waterloo contracted to supply a minimum of 20,000 tonnes per year at a cost of $2.3 million. That works out to $1.15 per tonne. But wait a minute. Did not the Guelph waste management tell us the Waterloo income was $1.41 per tonne?
Assuming the cost of borrowing to build the plant is 4 per cent, interest alone comes to $1.400,000 per year. It diminishes as principal is paid off. Details of the financing of this project have never been revealed.
Did the Waterloo politicians know something we didn’t know? This was a bargain too good to pass up. Let taxpayers in Guelph pay the capital costs to build the plant.
This brings up the hidden issue of cost/benefit of this $36 million investment. No one wants to talk about what it costs the taxpayers of Guelph to operate that plant.
What rationale determined that Guelph’s current output of wet waste is only 10,000 tonnes per year but went ahead and built a plant that can easily process 30,000 tonnes per year? And, the facility is approved to process up to 60,000 tonnes per year.
Who negotiated the deal with Waterloo? One would think that the Guelph negotiators would not sell two thirds of current plant capacity at a loss. Would they?
Was the negotiator the subsidiary of plant contractor, Maple Reinders? Is Aim Environmental, involved in a sweetheart deal with the city to have not only exclusive operating rights in the plant, with 16 employees, but to sell unused capacity including finished compost?
To add to the mystery of how the city spent $53 million on waste collection and processing, consider how citizens are now denied spring and fall garden waste and brush collection. That’s right up there with city denial to pick up Christmas trees last year.
Don’t forget there has been money spent upgrading the recycling plant and transfer station. Yet the city refuses to consider sending its recyclables to the new automated Waste Management recycling plant in Cambridge where costs are considerably lower.
It is impossible for taxpayers to evaluate these capital expenditures when no justification is provided by the administration.
Did anyone familiar with the details ever complete a cost/benefit analysis?
Unless the administration ‘fesses up, tells the truth about this project’s operations and cost/benefit, Guelph’s reputation as being run by rubes will endure.