High bid throws curve ball at curbside recycling

Steve
Steve Bartlett
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High tenders delay St. John's recycling program

St. John's residents won't be curbside recycling this spring. The city announced Thursday it's delaying the implementation of the program until October.

It couldn't find a company to operate the new recyclable facility at Robin Hood Bay within its budget and is about to retender the task.

Dennis O'Keefe

St. John's residents won't be curbside recycling this spring. The city announced Thursday it's delaying the implementation of the program until October.

It couldn't find a company to operate the new recyclable facility at Robin Hood Bay within its budget and is about to retender the task.

"What we're looking for is the best deal that we can get for taxpayers," Mayor Dennis O'Keefe said.

The city requested proposals to operate the facility in November.

There was interest from four companies, but in the end, only one submitted a proposal.

"They were hundreds of thousands of dollars in excess of what we anticipated," O'Keefe said.

To avert delaying the May startup, the city negotiated with CUPE Local 569 - its outside workers - to see if the facility could be operated in-house.

Those talks fell through this week and the decision was made to again request proposals.

Curbside recycling was supposed to begin last fall but was postponed until this May for budgetary reasons.

That delay was unpopular with residents, and this newest one will likely be as well.

"This really gets people frustrated and quite disturbed because we want to see it work," said Fred Winsor of the Sierra Club of Canada's Atlantic chapter.

Also a St. John's resident, Winsor said he thinks the city should have consulted with the public more.

"Right now it's primarily (a decision of) municipal councillors who basically have two things on their agenda. One is trying not to raise taxes or increase costs, and the second is getting re-elected. ... And that really clouds or skews how they view the thing."

Winsor thinks greater public involvement would have gotten the program off the ground faster, as residents and groups come armed with different information and perspectives.

As an example, Winsor said he knows items like cardboard and metal could be recycled at the curb right now.

"There's all kinds of little things that could be happening. You could have the trucks on the road doing that kind of stuff. People could see that there is something happening, and at the same time, working out some of the bugs."

Winsor also questions an October startup.

"Within two months of that, we're going to be into winter and that's going to be a lot less forgiving."

O'Keefe expects residents to be forgiving for the delay.

"I think people will understand we're doing it out of due diligence and concern for taxpayers' dollars and trying to reach what we feel is a fair cost for the operation of the facility."

O'Keefe noted taxpayers throughout the Eastern region are affected by costs at Robin Hood Bay.

He also stressed the delay was not a cost-cutting measure, that the program is ready to go with a new fleet of trucks, a facility that's 99 per cent complete and a marketing plan that's ready to roll out.

The new request for proposals is expected to be made in May, with a June deadline. O'Keefe said the city has retendered contracts previously and it worked out in its favour.

He also admitted that at the end of the day the city may end up with bids in the same range as the one they rejected.

"If we do, then that's the figure we have to live with."

sbartlett@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Sierra Club of Canada

Geographic location: St. John's, Robin Hood Bay, Eastern

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Recent comments

  • CB
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    Here is a link to Island Waste Management of PEI. If anyone has a system that works, it's PEI. http://www.iwmc.pe.ca/index.php

    I lived there for a couple of years and let me tell you there is no escaping the recycling/composting on that island. If you don't separate your waste accordingly they will send someone to your house to show you how to do it properly. Then if you still don't comply you will be fined. Zero tolerance, residences and businesses alike.
    Pioneers in waste management for our country...The city of Charlottetown uses power made from waste and of course the aluminum can has been banned for years.

  • Edmund
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    What a way to run a City!!! Ask for quotations to a public tender, receive a bid, think it is too high, go to your in house union with the bid price to try and hammer out a better price, negotiations fall off the rails, cancel a very important public service and expect to go back to the tender route in the fall for a better price. What a way to get respect from suppliers to want to work with the city. What do you expect from a retired school teacher with absolutely no business knowledge who would rather be trying out free bee cruises. Half of the cruise lines cancel anyway. What a waste of taxpayers money paying O'Keefe's salary and all the other perks he gets. What a joke he is. Time to get a legitimate businessman / woman to run the city again.

  • Laughable
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    This continues to be a black eye on both the city and the Province.

    The disregard for the environment in this province is staggering.

  • Taxpayer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    Urgent plea to Diane Whelan please disband this bunch of incompetent bumblers and install either the Mt Pearl council or an administrator.

    It is apparent that they waited until the last minute to issue the tender and did not provide time to deal with problems before the deadline for the program was to begin. This crowd cannot run anything.

  • Michael
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    This will just end up being another slush fund, with no real recycling happening. Much like the tire tax. Sorry folks, but sending a portion of the tires to Quebec, and paying rent to store the rest of them does NOT constitute recycling. You want to do something for the environment folks? Stop drinking Pepsi. The plastic bottles we'd save from that alone would have a greater environmental impact than any recycling contract won on tender.

  • Political Watcher
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    Please Doc, accomplish something that you can call your own. It sems that everything this Council touches fails. Sure they even killed a development that would have benefited the City and thousands more before it was applied for.
    Said it before and will do so again, Doc is a Cocktail Mayor and thats it.

  • UnionsSuck
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    What do you expect the city to do? They're forced to deal with unions who want more money to do less work. And god help the council if they try to go outside the union to get real work done, they'd have a s**tstorm to deal with from the union. They're in a no-win situation. I've seen them from the inside, and I can tell you where they could come up with the extra hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for this, get rid of some of the senior lazy union workers and replace them with people who know how to do some real work

  • member of the 20%
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    Graham, you're wrong...usually its untendered and unsolicited and given to a company with strong Tory ties and payback for PC Party donations.

  • John Doe
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    Maybe Doc could take another tax payer funded trip to Florida, so he could ask the cruise ships if they would take our recycling when they leave. I think it would be a great idea, while the cruise ships are tied up filling their tanks with our free water, and discharching their waste into our harbour, we could line up the trucks on the wharf. Oh, wait, I forgot they dump their trash here for free too...oops.

  • say what?
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    Saucy Face from Nl writes: Throw whatever money it takes to get the job done and if it means an increase in the mil rate then so be it. Nothing comes cheap these days, if we want this program to work then we have to be willing to pay for it, otherwise stop complaining and making childish remarks.


    =====================================

    Talk about childish remarks. You want taxpayers to pay through the nose so that this stuff can be stockpiled in another province, just so that you and those like you can feel good about yourselves, talk about stupidity.

  • Paul
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Personally the whole program should handled privately. Also I heard a CBC reporter during a street interview with locals, say that glass bottles won't be collected, at which point I figure the whole thing is a waste of time if they don't pick up ALL the recyclables. The people will still have to take a drive somewhere, so might as well go with all the stuff rather than half here and half there. Far as I can figure locating or arranging p/u from some of the people going around with shopping carts would be more effective, and I've done just that. On that note I see no problem with just leaving all your recyclables on the road, marked, and having some private company come by and haul away all they see. I won't have to pay extra taxes on p/u, as that will certainly happen, nor waste my time dropping things off. To me that's worth it if these things get recycled. We should also be recycling all batteries and beer caps, etc.

  • Brian
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Go it alone, set up , hire employees and lets
    get to it. Difficult, i don't think so!!!!

  • Jerry
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Use MMSB money and develop the additional capability and capacity over the next year or two to do something with all those tires too!

  • chuck
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    Great idea john but i guess they need the extra money for their free penision plan what a joke poor tax payers

  • Maggie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    Oh for Pete's sake, get on with it already! As a resident I feel sick that we aren't recycling and composting right along with the rest of the country. Backwards as hell!

    Hey Dennis, while you're hard at work making this city the best it can be...why don't you throw a little paint on the roadways to mark a safe clear path and maybe avoid a few preventable collisions. Oh and also, please invest in some safety marking equipment for our roadside workers...it was very hard to see them on Columbus drive the other morning on my way to work. The roads were wet and it was still dark, very dangerous conditions. Lucky for them I am an attentive driver.
    Have a great day all @ City Hall

  • Brad
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Headline should read 'St. John's delays joining the 21st century'. If the current employees are not up to the task of operating the facility, then hire more people who can. Why go to an outside company when new jobs can be created?

    Curbside recycling exists in every capital city in this country and in many more cities and towns. Newfoundland seems content to keep piling garbage into landfills and incinerators.

    We the citizens from St. John's should expect this kind of non action, because the same gang was voted in again with a few exceptions.

    My fear now is that we still will not have curbside recycling come next election.

  • R
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    St. John's has plenty of able bodied citizens on income support. I'm sure there must be some who would like to earn their money. That could take care of the employee aspect. Maybe some sort of arrangement or project could be set up with the provincial government? There would still be other costs, but this could cut down on employee wages

  • Saucy Face
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    Throw whatever money it takes to get the job done and if it means an increase in the mil rate then so be it. Nothing comes cheap these days, if we want this program to work then we have to be willing to pay for it, otherwise stop complaining and making childish remarks.

  • Fay
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    Sam Shadey from Nl was that your idea of a solution? Offering more insults?

  • Taxpayer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    Who says we should take this offer. I have a problem with people who just continually excuse poor performance in elected officials. If it was an employee they would be all over them. A good manager plans for problems and leaves time to solve them. This council does everything at the last possible minute.

  • harry
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    sam shady you are sooooo right . so heres a sensible solution ,,, GITTTTTT RIDDDDD OFFFFFFF THHHHHHH... MORONS LOL

  • John Doe
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Don't forget that even with a state of the art recycling system, all this garbage is simply shipped off to be stored in a huge yard in Quebec. There is NO market for any of this stuff, and so it is wearhoused, untill a market is found. The greenies get on spouting about recycling all the time when in reality it is a joke. Even the places that have the best of the best recycling, and claim to be so modern and green are fooling themselves. This problem is simply moved from one type of landfill to another. Well, I guess better piled up outside of Montreal than here.

  • Graham
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    member of the 20% from NL I guess that's where those other 3 companies who had considered a proposal, but withdrew, are.

  • Sam Shadey
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    So many so called experts here making ignorant remarks and hurling insults without offering any sensible solutions. If the city took this offer the same morons would be complain about the city mismanaging the taxpayers money.
    What is this place? Kindergarten?

  • Paul
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    This is such an embarassment! Every other City can do this without a problem. Why is it such an effort? This place is being run as if it was a small town in the middle of nowhere that never wants to change. The folks who voted O'Keefe, Duff & Co. should be ashamed. They have no clue how to run anything. God help us!

  • robroy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Why have a contractor? I am sure that there is someone at city all that can run a recycling ficility at robin hood bay. Why not ask mun to look at it as a project for teaching something in their busness courses

  • Graham
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    Haha, the only bid was hundreds of thousands of dollars over what they expected. How else do you expect the owner of the company who put in that bid to become extremely rich very fast ? That's how it's done here in Newfoundland. That and pay all your employees minimum wage of course.

  • Stephen M
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    I personally believe that for far to long private contractors think they can get any price just because it was a Governments tender, I think the council made a wise decision at this time. I do no think we should have curb cycle at any price so let the council do their job and I am sure if we do go with the latest bid we all will be crying why our taxes went up. Remember it is our tax dollars that the city is working with and if you want the highest bid you must pay for it.

  • tax payer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    This is to UnionsSucks, Your An Idiot!!!

  • CB
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    Here is a link to Island Waste Management of PEI. If anyone has a system that works, it's PEI. http://www.iwmc.pe.ca/index.php

    I lived there for a couple of years and let me tell you there is no escaping the recycling/composting on that island. If you don't separate your waste accordingly they will send someone to your house to show you how to do it properly. Then if you still don't comply you will be fined. Zero tolerance, residences and businesses alike.
    Pioneers in waste management for our country...The city of Charlottetown uses power made from waste and of course the aluminum can has been banned for years.

  • Edmund
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    What a way to run a City!!! Ask for quotations to a public tender, receive a bid, think it is too high, go to your in house union with the bid price to try and hammer out a better price, negotiations fall off the rails, cancel a very important public service and expect to go back to the tender route in the fall for a better price. What a way to get respect from suppliers to want to work with the city. What do you expect from a retired school teacher with absolutely no business knowledge who would rather be trying out free bee cruises. Half of the cruise lines cancel anyway. What a waste of taxpayers money paying O'Keefe's salary and all the other perks he gets. What a joke he is. Time to get a legitimate businessman / woman to run the city again.

  • Laughable
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    This continues to be a black eye on both the city and the Province.

    The disregard for the environment in this province is staggering.

  • Taxpayer
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    Urgent plea to Diane Whelan please disband this bunch of incompetent bumblers and install either the Mt Pearl council or an administrator.

    It is apparent that they waited until the last minute to issue the tender and did not provide time to deal with problems before the deadline for the program was to begin. This crowd cannot run anything.

  • Michael
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    This will just end up being another slush fund, with no real recycling happening. Much like the tire tax. Sorry folks, but sending a portion of the tires to Quebec, and paying rent to store the rest of them does NOT constitute recycling. You want to do something for the environment folks? Stop drinking Pepsi. The plastic bottles we'd save from that alone would have a greater environmental impact than any recycling contract won on tender.

  • Political Watcher
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    Please Doc, accomplish something that you can call your own. It sems that everything this Council touches fails. Sure they even killed a development that would have benefited the City and thousands more before it was applied for.
    Said it before and will do so again, Doc is a Cocktail Mayor and thats it.

  • UnionsSuck
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    What do you expect the city to do? They're forced to deal with unions who want more money to do less work. And god help the council if they try to go outside the union to get real work done, they'd have a s**tstorm to deal with from the union. They're in a no-win situation. I've seen them from the inside, and I can tell you where they could come up with the extra hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for this, get rid of some of the senior lazy union workers and replace them with people who know how to do some real work

  • member of the 20%
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    Graham, you're wrong...usually its untendered and unsolicited and given to a company with strong Tory ties and payback for PC Party donations.

  • John Doe
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    Maybe Doc could take another tax payer funded trip to Florida, so he could ask the cruise ships if they would take our recycling when they leave. I think it would be a great idea, while the cruise ships are tied up filling their tanks with our free water, and discharching their waste into our harbour, we could line up the trucks on the wharf. Oh, wait, I forgot they dump their trash here for free too...oops.

  • say what?
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    Saucy Face from Nl writes: Throw whatever money it takes to get the job done and if it means an increase in the mil rate then so be it. Nothing comes cheap these days, if we want this program to work then we have to be willing to pay for it, otherwise stop complaining and making childish remarks.


    =====================================

    Talk about childish remarks. You want taxpayers to pay through the nose so that this stuff can be stockpiled in another province, just so that you and those like you can feel good about yourselves, talk about stupidity.

  • Paul
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    Personally the whole program should handled privately. Also I heard a CBC reporter during a street interview with locals, say that glass bottles won't be collected, at which point I figure the whole thing is a waste of time if they don't pick up ALL the recyclables. The people will still have to take a drive somewhere, so might as well go with all the stuff rather than half here and half there. Far as I can figure locating or arranging p/u from some of the people going around with shopping carts would be more effective, and I've done just that. On that note I see no problem with just leaving all your recyclables on the road, marked, and having some private company come by and haul away all they see. I won't have to pay extra taxes on p/u, as that will certainly happen, nor waste my time dropping things off. To me that's worth it if these things get recycled. We should also be recycling all batteries and beer caps, etc.

  • Brian
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    Go it alone, set up , hire employees and lets
    get to it. Difficult, i don't think so!!!!

  • Jerry
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    Use MMSB money and develop the additional capability and capacity over the next year or two to do something with all those tires too!

  • chuck
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    Great idea john but i guess they need the extra money for their free penision plan what a joke poor tax payers

  • Maggie
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    Oh for Pete's sake, get on with it already! As a resident I feel sick that we aren't recycling and composting right along with the rest of the country. Backwards as hell!

    Hey Dennis, while you're hard at work making this city the best it can be...why don't you throw a little paint on the roadways to mark a safe clear path and maybe avoid a few preventable collisions. Oh and also, please invest in some safety marking equipment for our roadside workers...it was very hard to see them on Columbus drive the other morning on my way to work. The roads were wet and it was still dark, very dangerous conditions. Lucky for them I am an attentive driver.
    Have a great day all @ City Hall

  • Brad
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    Headline should read 'St. John's delays joining the 21st century'. If the current employees are not up to the task of operating the facility, then hire more people who can. Why go to an outside company when new jobs can be created?

    Curbside recycling exists in every capital city in this country and in many more cities and towns. Newfoundland seems content to keep piling garbage into landfills and incinerators.

    We the citizens from St. John's should expect this kind of non action, because the same gang was voted in again with a few exceptions.

    My fear now is that we still will not have curbside recycling come next election.

  • R
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    St. John's has plenty of able bodied citizens on income support. I'm sure there must be some who would like to earn their money. That could take care of the employee aspect. Maybe some sort of arrangement or project could be set up with the provincial government? There would still be other costs, but this could cut down on employee wages

  • Saucy Face
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    Throw whatever money it takes to get the job done and if it means an increase in the mil rate then so be it. Nothing comes cheap these days, if we want this program to work then we have to be willing to pay for it, otherwise stop complaining and making childish remarks.

  • Fay
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    Sam Shadey from Nl was that your idea of a solution? Offering more insults?

  • Taxpayer
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    Who says we should take this offer. I have a problem with people who just continually excuse poor performance in elected officials. If it was an employee they would be all over them. A good manager plans for problems and leaves time to solve them. This council does everything at the last possible minute.

  • harry
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    sam shady you are sooooo right . so heres a sensible solution ,,, GITTTTTT RIDDDDD OFFFFFFF THHHHHHH... MORONS LOL

  • John Doe
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    Don't forget that even with a state of the art recycling system, all this garbage is simply shipped off to be stored in a huge yard in Quebec. There is NO market for any of this stuff, and so it is wearhoused, untill a market is found. The greenies get on spouting about recycling all the time when in reality it is a joke. Even the places that have the best of the best recycling, and claim to be so modern and green are fooling themselves. This problem is simply moved from one type of landfill to another. Well, I guess better piled up outside of Montreal than here.

  • Graham
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    member of the 20% from NL I guess that's where those other 3 companies who had considered a proposal, but withdrew, are.

  • Sam Shadey
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    So many so called experts here making ignorant remarks and hurling insults without offering any sensible solutions. If the city took this offer the same morons would be complain about the city mismanaging the taxpayers money.
    What is this place? Kindergarten?

  • Paul
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    This is such an embarassment! Every other City can do this without a problem. Why is it such an effort? This place is being run as if it was a small town in the middle of nowhere that never wants to change. The folks who voted O'Keefe, Duff & Co. should be ashamed. They have no clue how to run anything. God help us!

  • robroy
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    Why have a contractor? I am sure that there is someone at city all that can run a recycling ficility at robin hood bay. Why not ask mun to look at it as a project for teaching something in their busness courses

  • Graham
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    Haha, the only bid was hundreds of thousands of dollars over what they expected. How else do you expect the owner of the company who put in that bid to become extremely rich very fast ? That's how it's done here in Newfoundland. That and pay all your employees minimum wage of course.

  • Stephen M
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    I personally believe that for far to long private contractors think they can get any price just because it was a Governments tender, I think the council made a wise decision at this time. I do no think we should have curb cycle at any price so let the council do their job and I am sure if we do go with the latest bid we all will be crying why our taxes went up. Remember it is our tax dollars that the city is working with and if you want the highest bid you must pay for it.

  • tax payer
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    This is to UnionsSucks, Your An Idiot!!!