Posted June 15, 2015
After four years, the following questions are still unreported by the city despite many attempts to obtain the answers. This has occurred for good reasons, as the administration is too embarrassed to allow the truth to be told.
From the get-go, this entire waste management complex on Dunlop Road was a failed project that lacked a business plan, created by a naive management team and powered by a majority group of elected ideologues. They were determined to use public money to meet their unrealistic environmental goals to divert waste from the landfill.
It is a system that fails to collect waste from an estimated 6,400 homes and businesses. Instead, the owners of these homes must pay private contractors to remove their waste. The city has steadfastly refused to compensate these owners through their tax bills.
Now the Fair Tax Group of citizens advocating compensation is discriminated against depending on the advent of a new 20-year waste management plan to serve all residents and businesses.
Trouble is, the first version was a $55 million dollar failure. The authors of much of this failure are now gone. Executive Director of waste management, Janet Laird has retired to British Columbia. Karen Farbridge lost her re-election bid last October.
But questions still remain and need answers:
1. Why did the $34 million Organic Waste Processing Facility (OWPF) general contractor, Maple Reinders, tell an Ottawa construction convention that the Guelph waste management facility only cost $28 million?
2. What happened to the $6 million difference that was subsequently quoted by the city’s cost of $34 million? Where does the truth lie?
3. Is there a contract to process, sell and divert waste between the city, (owner of OWPF), Maple Reinders and its subsidiary companies Aim Environmental (AE), Wellington Organix (WO)?
4. What is the legal relationship including terms of the contracts, between the city and the Maple Reinders companies?
5. What are the details of financing the OWPF and the waste management centre on Dunlop Drive?
6. Does the city pay all debt servicing and maintenance costs of the whole waste complex? What are those costs in the past rour years?
7. Does AE/WO have exclusive rights to operate the OWPF plus sales of composted material?
8. If so, what are the terms of the contract, length of agreement, commissions, loss provision, depreciation, and operational subsidies?
9. What are the commissions paid to AE/WO on the sale of OWPF finished compost?
10. Why is the Region of Waterloo failing to meet its contract to deliver 20,000 tonnes of feedstock to the OWPF?
11. Is the Region paying for the 20,000 tonnes regardless of whether they meet the contract to deliver? What is the rate per tonne paid by the Region.
12. How much does each tonne of organic waste cost to process?
13. What are the full operating costs of the OWPF including overhead, debt charges, commissions, bonuses, salaries and benefits, insurance, consultants, maintenance, modifications, legal, accounting, and engineering?
14. What are the costs of trucking waste to the landfill?
15. What is the 2015 estimated net revenue from OWPF operations?
16. What is the true percentage of waste being diverted to the landfill in 2014?
17. What was the profit (loss) position of the OWPF in 2012, 2013 and 2014?
18. What did the “Arkona Farmer” pay for the 3,400 tonnes of compost produced by OWPF in 2012 and subsequently?
19. Did AE/WO negotiate that sale? Was there a commission paid for that transaction?
20. Why did the city build a plant to process its wet waste that is triple its needs for the next 16 years? Further, those 6,600 residents must pay $1,433,600 to the city for NOT collecting its garbage. Instead they must pay private contractors to remove their garbage that winds up, unprocessed, in the landfill.
* * * *
If this $52 million exercise was to divert waste from the landfill, unless proven otherwise, it is an expensive and colossal failure. Out of 105,000 tonnes processed in 2012 at the waste management site on Dunlop Drive, some 48,000 tonnes went to the landfill. That’s 45.7 per cent.
If the city lacks the capacity to feed wet waste into its organic composting plant, now or in the future, taxpayers must ask: “What were they thinking?”
Too late, we’re stuck with this Byzantine white elephant that citizens will be paying for over the next 20 years.
And it was created by a few elected officials under the leadership of former Mayor Karen Farbridge, who put their personal environmental views ahead of the city’s responsibility to collect and process waste from all homes.
The sad part of this exercise that citizens are now locked into a waste management system when, in 2007, alternatives were rejected including incineration of waste for power generation.