Whitehorse city council’s decision not to extend Raven Recycling’s gatekeeping contract at the landfill was premature, says the non-profit’s executive director.
The recycling industry in Whitehorse is in turmoil, and because of that, it would have been more sensible for council to iron out the details of its new curbside recycling collection program prior to re-issuing a public tender, Joy Snyder said in an interview this week.
“It adds more uncertainty at a time when we’re already reeling from that,” she added, referring to Raven’s decision to close its drop-off service in October.
“If council can make decisions around their new system, it would help processors, and they can move forward and finish changing the systems.”
That said, Snyder said she also recognizes needs to be fiscally responsible while tendering contracts.
On Monday evening, council decided to issue public tenders for the gatekeeping and transfer station operations at the landfill.
Raven has held the gatekeeping contract since 2000. Council also considered extending that contract another 12 months at a cost of $176,658.
Councillors Mike Gladish, Betty Irwin and Dave Stockdale were strongly in favour of keeping the status quo and extending Raven’s contract.
“A one-year extension gives administration time to settle everything,” Gladish said.
But Coun. Kirk Cameron managed to convince three of his colleagues that it was a better idea to put the contracts out for competition.
“This isn’t the approach you want with the private sector,” he said.
“Extending this contract for another year isn’t appropriate.”
Snyder said it was one of Raven’s biggest contracts and that it complemented what they do.
“Initially we were subcontracted under General Waste Management, and they asked us to get on board because they wanted to change the way the landfill was managed,” she said.
“It’s the gatehouse guys that got everybody to start sorting their stuff, educating them why, and getting recycling going in the area. We played a big part in turning it from a dump to a waste management facility.”
Raven’s gatekeeping contract with the city expires on Jan. 31. Snyder confirmed the non-profit would bid on the gatekeeping contract.
Meanwhile, the city is fast-tracking plans to offer curbside recycling collection. City councillors recently approved spending $100,000 to finalize the program’s design. It’s expected that households would pay $15 per month for weekly service.
Many details still need to be ironed out, such as which organizations and companies will be involved and when the program will actually begin.
Raven is working with P&M Recycling and the Yukon government to come with an interim, short-term funding model for its own operations, said Snyder.
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