First and foremost, I want to thank staff (both management and our labour groups) for undertaking a professional, honest and transparent process to date on the solid waste service review. While this type of “inward looking” is never easy, I wholeheartedly believe this process has been respectful to our valued City staff while honoring this council’s commitment to ensuring value for taxes and efficient service delivery.
To this end I encourage everyone with an interest in this file to read the interim staff report on the state of the City’s Solid Waste Services.
Now for some take homes messages.
It’s important to note that of the six solid waste services under review, five are performing at, or above the levels of our comparator municipalities. This is a good news story that cannot be understated.
As for the sixth however (the operation of the Material Recovery Facility or MRF), the staff report indicates the current operating losses sit at $92/tonne, or $2.5M annually, while many of our comparator municipalities are seeing positive revenues (as much as $84/tonne).
From this perspective, our cost ($92/tonne) plus the loss of potential revenue (as high as $84/tonne), results in a net operating variance of $176/tonne (in some cases). When projected over 23,000 tonnes of waste processed each year, it is conceivable to conclude that the MRF may be underforming by as much as $4M annually (by comparison).
This, in my mind, is the fundamental issue facing council on this file and one that cannot be ignored. While no staff recommendations have been tabled to date, I believe this council is serious about correcting these losses. As such I’m supportive of the work ahead and trust staff will bring forward sustainable recomendations for correcting these ongoing losses in the near future.