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City to submit bid for operation of Hamilton’s central composting facility

There will be a private versus public sector debate as it relates to the future operation and maintenance of Hamilton's central composting facility.
There will be a private versus public sector debate as it relates to the future operation and maintenance of Hamilton's central composting facility. Nick Westoll/Global News

City council may have taken a step towards public operation of Hamilton’s central composting facility (CCF).

Councillors have approved Ward 4 Coun. Sam Merulla’s motion, which directs staff to prepare and submit an “in house” bid when a request for proposals is issued for the future operation and maintenance of the Burlington Street East location.

READ MORE: Hamilton’s composting plant to resume operations at one-third capacity

The CCF has been privately operated since 2006, but the current contract will expire at the end of 2020.

Merulla believes “the public service is not only capable of doing it, but of doing it at less cost.”

He cites, as one example, an early 2000’s decision to bring the operation of the city’s wastewater treatment plant “in-house.”

READ MORE: No more leaf and yard waste in Hamilton green bins as of Monday

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Merulla adds that “it’s not a bad thing to make a profit, but it is when it starts to interfere with the quality of life of our residents.”

WATCH: The benefits of indoor composting (2018)

The benefits of indoor composting
The benefits of indoor composting

The central composting facility restarted operations in February, after being temporarily closed because of odour issues that plagued some east end neighbourhoods in June 2018.

The city has taken steps that it hopes will prevent that problem from occurring again, by banning leaf and yard waste waste from green carts effective Apr 1, 2019.

READ MORE: Construction begins on Woodward wastewater treatment plant upgrades

Stoney Creek Coun. Brad Clark has sought assurances that fairness can be ensured if the city is bidding on the RFP.

General Manager of Public Works Dan McKinnon says that will be achieved through the purchasing policy, which creates an “ethical wall” between the teams that prepare the city bid and review the proposals.

McKinnon says those teams are completely independent of each other and aren’t allowed to communicate during the procurement phase.