City to vote on new dump contracts

Whitehorse's city council will vote next Monday on awarding two long-term contracts at its landfill.

Whitehorse’s city council will vote next Monday on awarding two long-term contracts at its landfill.

The contracts for the landfill’s gatekeeping and transfer station operations spurred a heated debate last month among councillors, who eventually voted 4-3 in favour of putting the contracts out for competition.

Coun. Kirk Cameron was the driving force behind the initiative, arguing that the city should offer local businesses more opportunities.

Raven Recycling, which has run the gatehouse since 2000, was unsuccessful with its bid of $149,777 annually. The lowest bid came from Lanix Property Management Ltd., which bid $139,250 annually.

That contract previously cost the city approximately $173,000 per year. Raven’s current contract expires on Jan. 31.

The gatehouse at the landfill is open 10 hours a day, seven days a week. Staff open and close the facility, operate the weigh scale, apply the fees and charges, and direct customers to appropriate areas for deposit or disposal.

Raven’s executive director, Joy Snyder, has called the decision not to extend the non-profit’s contract “premature.” She’s maintained that, with Whitehorse’s recycling industry in turmoil, it would have been more sensible for council to sort out the details of its new curbside recycling collection program before re-issuing a public tender.

Raven shuttered its public drop-off recycling service in October.

Coun. Betty Irwin was in favour of keeping the landfill contracts with Raven, noting that the non-profit has run the gatekeeping operations for almost 15 years.

The city reckons it could run the gatekeeping service directly at a cost of around $180,000 per year.

General Waste Management was the lowest bidder for the transfer station operations contract with an annual bid of $112,251.

The Tle’nax T’awei Group has operated the transfer station since 2009. Its contract also expires at the end of the month.

The transfer station handles hazardous waste, compostables and construction materials.

Administration determined that it could run the transfer station for approximately $81,000 per year, but costs associated with purchasing 12 large bins and a new truck would not “represent good value.”

Both contracts would run from Feb. 1, 2015 until Jan. 31, 2020.

At this week’s standing committee meeting on Monday evening, Coun. John Streicker asked whether the five-year contracts included clauses that could accommodate unforeseen changes in the recycling industry.

David Albisser, the city’s waste and water services manager, said they did.

Councillors will be presented with two options. They could award the contracts to the lowest bidders or cancel the tenders and direct administration to assume operations internally.

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

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