Yes to waste service partnership

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Waitaki District councillors have recommended the council enter a formal relationship with Waste Management NZ Ltd to deliver waste services, but the agreement has angered one councillor.

At its meeting yesterday, the council considered two options for waste management when the Oamaru landfill stops accepting waste in April 2016.

The first, recommended, option was to enter a partnership under a build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) contract to define the relationship between council and Waste Management NZ Ltd, which is considered to be a more efficient, cost-effective way of dealing with waste disposal.

The second option was to establish a joint venture with a company structure and board of directors.

Waitaki District Council assets group manager Neil Jorgensen said the joint venture was a more complex system that had higher operational costs and would also have added resourcing costs, such as consultation processes.

Councillor Hugh Perkins did not agree with the BOOT format, and favoured a joint venture.

“I have serious concerns about this BOOT process.”

He said waste management processes had changed and was not considered as important as it once was by central Government.

“By going into this situation we are going to lose a significant amount of flexibility to respond to the challenges the future may throw up . . . I also have some concerns about the co-operation of the Waitaki Resource Recovery Trust (WRRT) and Waste Management.”

Cr Perkins urged the council to reconsider the recommendation.

Mr Jorgensen said any delay in adopting it would potentially delay an agreement between council and Waste Management NZ Ltd being reached.

Cr June Slee supported the recommendation but was concerned about a lack of “hard data” on the estimated cost of the BOOT and joint venture models would have on ratepayers.
Cr Melanie Tavendale asked if legal advice had been sought and if a review period was in place.

Mr Jorgensen said the recommended partnership could be dissolved at any time before a contract was signed, while legal advice had already been sought on any potential shortfalls.
Mayor Gary Kircher was confident a BOOT contract would work.

“A BOOT-type option is the best one but . . . we want to make sure the WRRT is involved. We want to make sure the cost structure is as effective as possible . . . we need to make sure the contract is drawn really well and there is no loopholes in it”.

The council recommended to adopt the BOOT proposal, with only Cr Perkins opposed.

By Daniel Birchfield