Organics Facility Update

January 18, 2011

Healthy Environment

As of the end of December 2010 $13,329,884 has been spent on this project.

This is 41.5% of the total project budget.

To the end of December, 54% of the actual construction has been completed.

Major Construction Activities that occurred during December 2010 were:

  • First and second level of masonry blocks were laid around administration building
  • Exterior brick veneer masonry blocks were laid around administration building
  • Commenced installation of pre-engineered building over tunnels 5 through 7
  • Concrete tunnel walls poured • Concrete slab on grade in biofilter cells completed
  • Concrete walls in biofilter area poured
  • Rebar installed and concrete poured for water holding tank footings

The photos in the attached PowerPoint file will show you that the construction is progressing quickly.

Organics Waste Processing Facility Construction Progress Update Jan17 2011

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About Karen Farbridge

An unwavering change maker seeking a just, democratic and sustainable world.

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12 Comments on “Organics Facility Update”

  1. Jim Grant Says:

    Does anybody know yet, what our cost per ton is going to be with the new system?

  2. kfarbridge Says:

    Our staff estimated that we would be paying our operator $87.50 per tonne to process the organic waste collected at curbside.

    They have currently negotiated that number down to $79 per tonne in part because of the success in securing a contract to process organic waste from the Region of Waterloo.

    To put this operating cost into perspective:

    We currently pay $96 per tonne to have our residential organic waste disposed at an energy-from-waste incinerator in the U.S. The cost for disposal has escalated since we began.

    The Region of Waterloo will be paying $116.82 per tonne to have their residential organic waste processed in our facility. This will generate approximately $7.5 million in net revenue (after all processing costs have been accounted for) to the City of Guelph over 10 years.

    Contracts for processing organic waste by private sector operators have been in the range of $95 – 135 per tonne.

    The capital cost of this facility is debt financed by the City of Guelph and has been accommodated within the overall limits to debt established by the last term of Council.

  3. Jim Grant Says:

    Thank you very much for the positive news. I wonder though if we might know what the actual or closet to actual cost will be including all project costs like debt servicing, amortizing costs, process costs, projected maintenance costs, administration and regulation costs, etc etc.

  4. kfarbridge Says:

    With respect to capital spending, for a project like the Organics Facility, Council currently approves a 5-year capital budget. At the time of approval, Council is provided a Debt Continuity Schedule to ensure that the capital program complies with Council’s policies with respect to debt and reserve management and capital financing. Some of the information you are requesting would be found in the 2011 capital budget which will be coming forward to Council in February.

    While individual projects and/or categories of capital projects are provided in the Debt Continuity Schedule, Council’s oversight is at a consolidated level. There are dozens of capital projects – built, under construction or planned – at different stages of financing.

    Annually, Council receives a variance report on the status current capital projects.

    The responsibility for some of the information you are seeking lies with the private-sector operator of the facility and oversight is delegated to management.

    The reports mentioned above are not the only reports that Council receives to measure the performance of our operations. However, as we implement performance-based budgeting and appoint an internal auditor, the level of transparency and accountability will be further enhanced.

    At the corporate level, Council reviews key performance indicators (information recently posted) to monitor the financial performance of the organization and to ensure the long term financial policies established by Council are effectively moving and/or keeping the corporation in a strong financial position.

    Many of the long term financial planning policies in place are relatively young. However, our recent Financial Condition Assessment shows that our long term financial policies are proving successful in moving the corporation in the right direction and we are performing well relative to our comparators.

  5. Jim Grant Says:

    So through all this, as I am not an accountant, when one adds in all the costs to bring on line and operate this facility, including new bins and trucks, we are really going to pay much more than $79/tonne????

    Seems to be very misleading to me.

  6. Pat Quirk Says:

    “…Council’s oversight is at a consolidated level”

    I sometimes forget things that have happened more that a month ago too. Council’s oversight was at the project level for the organics facility. Debt terms (both amount and duration) for this project were set at a council meeting (you were there and approved). A subsequent council meeting dealt with the operational costs for the facility (you were also there and approved). In your December 9th letter to the MOE, you indicated that this was the number one priority of council. Council has been intimately involved with this project – and so they should.

    In terms of the cost per tonne, you had staff prepare cost estimates for this facility. Your email to me on December 9th, 2009 confirmed that it was $114 per tonne – which was subsequently retracted. I later received different numbers but it was eventually changed to $0.70 per week. Nobody, and I mean nobody would speak to a cost per tonne.

    In the third version of the “Organics Facility Backgrounder” it is stated “While it would be convenient to be able to associate a cost per tonne with the new OWPF, at this point, it would be premature to calculate a cost per tonne because some factors have yet to be confirmed”. I think all of these factors are now substantially known and doubt that it would be premature.

    If you are missing any of the above information, I would be more than happy to forward it to you….I have a pretty good file on this….

    I, like nearly every taxpayer, will be sorting my organic waste and placing it into our new bins. We have to accept some decisions, as poor as they may be, and be good citizens of Guelph.

    We will be processing 8,500 tonnes of Guelph based organic waste through this facility. I respectfully suggest that you either state how much this will cost in total or you state you have no idea. I don’t think that is an unreasonable request.

  7. kfarbridge Says:

    Dear Jim and Patrick

    We have been on this merry-go-round many times before. Time to get off.

    I think we all know that there is nothing that I can say that will change your minds. I haven’t been trying to. I accept that you feel the decision to rebuild the Organic Waste Processing Facility was a bad decision. Respectfully, I disagree.

    I am asking you to accept the decision was made and the facility is 54% built. Council’s work is now to ensure this facility serves our community well.

  8. Jim Grant Says:

    Karen – Once again I am confused. You speak of a merry-go-round that I have never been part of. I simply want to know what our cost per tonne is going to be in relation to what we were paying previously. I do not know who this Patrick is or what your previous dealings were.
    Why is it so hard to get a straight answer out of this city? If we are not sure then state so and everything is fine.

  9. Jim Grant Says:

    Just a followup Ms Farbridge – I have never been against the organic facility.

    I have questioned the three bin collection system as even yourself, has stated publicly, that all situations have not been ironed out, even though we are going ahead with the expense of new trucks and bins for all homes in Guelph.

    I am disappointed and frankly offended by a so called public official in your comments above. I hope this is not the course for any other resident of this city.

  10. kfarbridge Says:

    My apologies Jim – I missed when this thread changed from the organics facility to carts.

    A link to high level information about the decision:

    The full report Conversion of Curbside Waste Collection Program to Fully Automated Carts that went to Council starts on page 87 (of 207) at the following link:

    Click to access council_agenda_083010.pdf

  11. Jim Grant Says:

    I understand the frustrations that can go with the job, so your apology is appreciated.

    To further explain, it has never been about re-opening the organic facility. It has everything to do with the methodology and cost there. In other words, I do understand the C of A and it’s requirements, but nowhere does it dictate a 3 bin system and new trucks to handle same.

    Thank you
    PS – I will read through the report listed and get back to you, should I have further questions.
    Some of my concerns with a three bin system are:
    curb requirement spacing
    Control/accuracy of contents
    Lack of control and C of A requirements etc

  12. Pat Says:

    That was not your best Mayoral response.

    As I said in my post above, I do accept this decision and will be sorting my garbage, using the new bins and paying my taxes on time. I respect the process.

    I think you should have been trying to change my mind. That comes with the job when you are spending other people’s money.

    Finally, it hasn’t been a merry-go-round. It has been more like a treadmill, where no matter how hard I work, I just can’t seem to make any progress. The last City statement was that it was premature to calculate a cost per tonne. I am a patient man. I will continue to wait.

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