Sigh! Another award for a job not well done

Posted October 29, 2013

The City of Guelph applied for an award from the Recycling Council of Ontario for its waste diversion and communications accomplishment.

And it received a gold rating.

The trouble with these self-serving awards is that the facts are left out.

Let’s start with waste diversion, one of the benchmarks for the gold award. Without regard for the criteria, the application failed to explain that 6,400 households in Guelph do not have their waste picked up by the city. Most of this is removed, unsorted, by private contractors and goes to the landfill.

The new $15 million automated cart/bin collection system cannot navigate to service hundreds of residences because the trucks cannot maneuver.  Wonder if they explained that the city scrapped an existing collection system and bragged they would save $500,000 a year with the new system. The cost benefit in that calculation is baffling. Spend $15 million and save $500,000 a year?

Does that warrant a gold rating by the Ontario Waste Minimization Award selection committee?

Did the committee consider the cost of operating an Organics Waste Processing Facility (OWPF) that was built three times the needs of the city for the next 23 years? Did they point out that the organics waste processing capacity of the plant is 30,000 tonnes annually but failed to meet that target in 2012? It missed the mark by 12,400 tonnes.

They weren’t told? Neither were the taxpayers.

Winning the gold for communications is almost laughable. The waste management planners imposed a $52 million system on the taxpayers without consulting them. The city entered into contracts with suppliers of which the details are secret. This includes cost of operations, sales of finished material, sales agreements and bonuses, consultant costs and debt funding details. All of which should be made public.

This is yet another example of mushroom management that prevents the taxpayers from learning and understanding how their money is being spent.

This award is nothing but a shallow photo op for the Mayor and her cohorts.


Filed under Between the Lines

16 responses to “Sigh! Another award for a job not well done

  1. geo

    I’ve heard through the grapevine that their flying Terry Bradshaw in to present the award.

  2. paul

    Are there any photos of the mayor and her cohorts that are not shallow?

  3. Glen N. Tolhurst

    Here we go again with bafflegab from the civic administration and self congratulatory back slapping. The only gold in the waste mismanagement area is that which is repeatedly sucked out of the pockets of taxpayers.
    Instead of putting out one blue bag for recyclable paper and a second one for recyclable plastic, glass, and cans, (known as a sorted at source waste stream) I will now have to throw them into one blue bin (known as a co-mingled stream). The contents of the blue bin will now be sorted by paid manual labour at a city recycling centre, at a reported cost exceeding that of a privately run recycling facility in the region. Absolutely brilliant thinking by the bureaucrat in charge of mishandling waste mismanagement. In the same vein of stupidity, I now have to buy a compostable green bin liner to prevent “yuck factor” buildup in the green bin. The bags cost $4 for 10 vs. 50 for $5 of the previous bags. If the waste boffins hadn’t been so anxious to get green bins at the curb, they could have waited until the city of Ottawa won its court challenge against the MOE to have compostable green bags processed in the OWPF. Automated truck costs of $12 million would have been avoided. Obviously some waste guru on staff must be suffering from the “yuck factor” clogging his/her brain functions. Next batter up is the grey garbage bin fiasco. The clear garbage bag that fits a container in the kitchen will now be emptied in to a grey bin with its somewhat “yucky” contents of food packaging, styrofoam food containers, used wax paper, fish wrappers and related detritus with the used clear bag being thrown on top of it. Not Nobel prize thinking by a long shot. The last kick in the head for citizens of Guelph is that this fall will be the last pickup of yard waste in kraft paper bags. The contents of the 10 bags I have filled, will in the future have to be, over about 20 weeks, crammed into the green bin, providing the paper bags don’t rot out before. Ah, but the waste boffins say each person can haul the bags of yard waste to the dump though they conveniently fail to mention the lining up with engine running at the dump. Again, brilliant thinking and practice. Oh well, with the civic election next fall the mayor,councilors, and administration whose fingerprints are all over the $53 million waste mismanagement SNAFU can be consigned to the garbage heap. Now that would be a gold rated move!!

  4. Eleanor Ross

    Lets keep in mind that the original Wet waste recycling plant cost us $50 million and was supposed to make $60 million. Instead it promptly rotted and ended up causing much distress for area residents and many costs to the city for Ministry of the environment hearings and assessments, Then start adding the costs of the current project. This should have all been a simple case. Waste to an incinerator and recyclables in a blue box. Sad.

    • paul

      The current mayor and her band of no mind followers have a difficult time tying up their own shoe laces so what can the citizens of Guelph expect!!! Paul Phelan

    • Eleanor Ross: If I’m not mistaken both wet waste processing facilities originated when Karen Farbridge was Mayor and Janet Laird was charge of both failed projects. Just imagine what the administration could have done with $103 million wasted on this environmental pipe dream. Read Glen N. Tolhurt’s comment about the new method of collecting and disposing household waste. It’s an eye-opener.

  5. Hip2

    How is Glen’s process new? People (esp. university students) can barely sort now with single stream recycling. Our diversion rates would go down if citizens were required to sort paper vs containers.

  6. Stephen Harpertron

    Why is it other cities have no real problems but here everything gets nick picked by the right….sigh gotta love CONmen

    • Stephen Harpertron: Guess you don’t get out much. Other cities are having similar problems in over-spending, rising debt, excessive property tax and user fees. Read the petition presented by GrassRoots Guelph to the Ministry Of Municipal Affairs and Housing ( It details comparisons of Guelph’s operations with peer group cities. You can start comparing Guelph’s per household waste management costs to other municipalities. Or the Canadian Taxpayers Federation “D” rating of Guelph’s financial management as it relates to containing employee costs. We were 18th in a 20-city survey. GRG by the way is non-partisan. Nick (sic) picking you say?

  7. Don’t forget the manual labour at a city recycling centre past and present who have been bullied and harassed out of their jobs by Union and Management who favour the hiring of their own relatives (nepotism). So where did all those Guelph hard-working people go? We are standing in line at the Food Bank.

  8. Paul, I am a former City Garbage Truck Driver / Operator. I worked 18 months full-time. The Union and City never recognized my hard work; no accidents, proud to serve the residents of Guelph, and a Skilled Tradeswoman with +10 years experience. The City employees I worked with each had minimum 2 (two) relatives working at the City. Many people are bullied out of their jobs at the City – it is the Standard Operating Procedure.

    • phelan

      Once you have a relative working for the city yer a shoe in for a job….sucks but that’s the reality of the way Guelph is run……

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