November 14th, 2019

City finds interim curbside pickup

By COLLIN GALLANT on October 17, 2019.

NEWS FILE PHOTO
City worker Jason Thomson delivers blue carts in May of 2018. The city has signed an interim contract with GFL for curbside recycling pickup until a long-term deal can be put in place.

cgallant@medicinehatnews.com@CollinGallant

The city’s solid waste department has awarded an interim contract to collect curbside recycling until it can choose a long-term contractor and negotiate a new deal, it was announced on Wednesday.

National waste company GFL will pick up bins in Medicine Hat homes from Nov. 18 until the end of January 2020, a process that municipal managers say will provide a seamless transition as far as residents are concerned.

“It is important to both the city and residents that the recycling program continues while the city seeks a long-term recycling service provider,” notes Lora Brenan, the general manager of the environmental utilities department. “We would also like to assure residents that there will be no changes to current rates for recycling while GFL steps in for this period.”

A new call for tenders to provide the door-to-door pickup was posted on municipal bid clearinghouse on Oct. 10 and closes on Oct. 29.

Last month, officials with the utility department and the original contractor, Environment 360 solutions (E360s), ended their agreement.

Both sides said they couldn’t reach agreement on updating the 16-month-old contract in light of low prices and challenges in re-marketing the material.

Resales bring in a portion of the company’s revenue along with an operating payment for pickup that is recovered from fees on household bills.

e360s managers said that in light of the changes in global markets, they were losing money on the contract and could not continue.

The service was introduced for Medicine Hats’ 26,000 single-family homes in the spring of 2018 and once fees were adjusted, cost ratepayers an additional $3 in a typical month.

e360s also services a number of commercial contracts in Medicine Hat, and owns the materials sorting facility formerly owned by the city.

GFL is a Toronto-based company that operates in most major centres in Canada and at nine locations in Alberta, including Lethbridge.

It expanded to 20 American states in late 2018 when it merged with North Carolina-based “Waste Industries.”

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