Cornwall’s $24M garbage, recycling contract on hold

Workers with garbage and recycling contractor HGC Management stand at the back of the council chambers on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019 during a council meeting discussing a $24 million contract for garbage and recycling collection. The awarding of the contract is on hold for two weeks as the city seeks legal advice on whether it has to award the contract based on the recommendation from the proposal review committee. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – A seven year, multi-million dollar contract for garbage and recycling for the City of Cornwall is on hold for two weeks.

City councillors debated for well over an hour Monday night on the information report on the contract and then the contract itself.

By the end of it, council accepted the report but a majority of councillors were not prepared to award the $24 million contract to Environmental 360 Solutions of Pickering, Ont., opting instead to get more information.

Part of that information will be legal advice on whether council is obligated to accept the contract based on the results of the city’s evaluation committee. At this point, CAO Maureen Adams suggested it is, unless a new proposal was “significantly different” than the one tendered. Not awarding it as recommended might open the municipality up to “legal exposure,” the CAO said.

Employees of the current contractor – HGC Management – listened intently to the discussion, many worried they’re going to lose their jobs. The firm has over 30 full-time workers.

Environmental 360 Solutions (E360) scored higher in its review by the committee on seven criteria, even though it’s $154,000 more expensive than HGC Management, which has had the contract for 28 years. The evaluation also doesn’t give any credit to whether a company is local, nor is the city legally allowed to.

“We highlighted the elements of the proposal from E360 as I was asked and those were all important considerations,” Municipal Works General Manager John St. Marseille told Cornwall Newswatch.

Those included three new specialized pieces of sorting equipment, the split back trucks for carrying both recycling and garbage and a “detailed transition plan.”

While he wouldn’t get into the details of the scoring, Marseille said a “typical range” for cost consideration in the contract would be 10-30 points out of 100.

The city is also facing a tight timeline as its current contract with HGC expires at the end of March and there also needs to be time for ramp up of operations should a new contractor be in place.