Dump future still in question

| 17/02/2011

(CNS): The chair of the team which will negotiate with the winners of the landfill bid shortly has revealed that Wheelabrator will be the ones to decide if they want to work with Dart, even though it is clear government now wants to move the landfill. Canover Watson said there was reason to believe that the waste-to-energy experts may welcome the opportunity to partner with the developer, given the potential investment the Dart Group is willing to make. Confusion over the future of waste management arose last month following the premier’s announcement that Dart would be capping the dump — contrary to the details of the original RFP. Watson admitted there were now a lot of new questions that would need to be considered in the negotiations but Dart was not driving that process.

Questions over the collection and delivery of waste, the need for new roads between George Town and Bodden Town where the new landfill site is likely to be situated, the possibility of a halfway collection point between the new landfill and the capital, as well as how Wheelabrator will make up the economic shortfall from not being able to burn existing waste for profit at the get go, are just some of the questions that will now form part of the negotiations. Watson said it was important to consider that almost 80% of the waste generated on Grand Cayman was in the West Bay-George Town area and how that would be handled was an important factor.

Despite the fact that the existing dump was part of the original RFP, which Wheelabrator had planned to mine and burn to convert to energy, the contents of the old dump are now no longer part of the contract.

As waste-to-energy experts, Wheelabrator had bid for the contract based on the potential profit it could generate from burning the flammable materials in it. As the firm will no longer have access to that material it will now be expected to generate profit from newly generated waste going forward,  which means it could take considerably longer for the firm to cover its costs.

Speaking at the Cayman Business Outlook last month after the tendering process was closed and the preferred bidder selected, Premier McKeeva Bush announced that government had decided to move the existing dump.

"Government has decided to cap and and remediate the existing landfill and establish a new solid waste management facility, or eco-park, at a site to be determined," the premeir said.

"With our encouragement, Dart has agreed to take over and responsibly cap and remediate the existing site." The developer had agreed, Bush added, to provide a site of similar acreage to government and establish the platform for a new solid waste management facility. "We envision the new facility will include many components, including recycling, composting, and waste to energy and landfill."

He said government would ensure that any new landfill would be properly engineered with linings, collection systems and the technology that would ensure that it is environmentally responsible.

Watson, who chaired the original technical team and who will now lead the negotiations, says that having won the bid, Wheelabrator should still be given the option to negotiate under these new circumstances and that starting a new tendering process at this point would not be any fairer.

“Wheelabrator now has the option to make an assessment about the situation,” he said, adding that as the Dart Group was not the successful bidder it would not drive the process.

The goal, Watson said, was for the negotiating team to arrive at a sustainable solution that would benefit the people of the Cayman Islands and address the long standing problem of the George Town dump and future waste management.

The new aims of government to cap the old dump and create a new landfill  were not necessarily in conflict with the aims of the winners of the bid, Watson said, and he hoped Wheelabrator would see the potential benefits. He said that he would be standing firm about Dart not automatically getting the full contract if a satisfactory solution could not be found between government and Wheelabrator.

“The Dart Group did not win the bid and was not one of the three preferred choices which the technical committee selected and the CTC confirmed,” Watson added. He said the local firm would not simply be handed the contract if a solution can’t be found with the winning bidder. “We can’t just circumvent the process,” Watson said. “Dart was an unsuccessful bidder and to just say we will now go with Dart if negotiations break down is not right. The CTC process has to have integrity. We can’t undermine it.”

Although there have been no formal talks as yet with the US based firm, the team’s chair said he hoped negotiations would begin in the first week of March and that they would be able to move ahead quickly. Many of the questions and issues that now have to be addressed are of a particularly technical nature and the Department of Environmental Health has recently employed a new waste management expert that will be working with Watson and his team through the negotiations.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It smelt bad today!!!

  2. 8th place says:

    so dart ranked in 7th place and peeps still think they are the best and deserve the chance for addressing the dump. They didnt prove it and why isnt the other submissions given the same treatment?

    “The Dart Group did not win the bid and was not one of the three preferred choices which the technical committee selected and the CTC confirmed,”Watson added.

    what is the real reason that we still have no real solution after the bidding process and all these years? Both udp and ppm have sat and done nothing to address this issue for the past 12 years.

    How can there be any trust in any bids or system if Mr. Canower is the only person defending the process? is he the consultant or “CIG representative in garbage”?

  3. Anonymous says:

    When I heard Gov’t. had decided to have a US firm/Wheelabrator fix the dump problem the way they had agreed to do it I was elated.  The whole project sounded right and it was FINALLY going to start.  When I heard it had changed and DART was going to be involved and just ‘cap’ the dump I can’t tell you how disappointed I was. Nothing against DART. They’ve done some good things on the island but why in God’s name was it changed and included THEM when the agreement had already been made with the US firm?

    I don’t believe ‘capping’ it and leaving it is the answer.  Everything there will still continue to leak and putrify the area.  We have to get rid of what’s there and, as I understand it, that’s what the US firm was going to do.

    I think the powers that be have stepped out of line here and I would love to know their real reason. 

    Canover, I think you feel the same way.  Stick to your guns!


  4. Anonymous says:

    New Roads? Let us please finish building our schools first!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Canover needs to tread very carefully! 

    Because, if Dart is going to close the dump and build government a new facility, this is obviously a significant change in the scope of the project……. therefore the project should be revised to exclude the work that Dart will be doing and then retendered.

    Anything less is setting the government up for another lawsuit.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Government is a lawsuit waiting to happen, then happening, waiting to happen then happening, waiting to happen……Just another way of throwing away more money. Wait a minute! I need to get my bid in now before they get smart.

  6. ANONYMOUS says:

    Mr Canover, what ever interests you represent, give the dump a break and let the Dart Group get onwith their job.

    The Dart group has lived up to the expectations in all their projects taken up in Cayman. So let them get on with it.

    Thanks for your Chairmanship of the HSA Board. You have done a good job of working with a management which has lost touch with reality and are doing well with bringing morale down

    Keep up the good work

  7. Don't worry I wont stay says:

    Times a wasting.

    Build a new state of the art waste management centre somewhere else and lead the world in new environmental technologies. Then close the dump, cap it, plant some trees on it, make it look nice.

    Shame Wheelabrator can not have a bon fire for the next ten years in the center of town. Cut them a check and thank them for coming out. 


  8. Anonymous says:

    Add Wheelabrator to the long and ever growing list of offshore companies that have been Caymanized.  There is absolutly no reason anyone, Caymanian included should show any trust toward any business dealing with the Cayman Government.  Submiting a bid, going through the process and then winning said bid means you will be going to court against the Government in the future. Nuff said.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Please lets not have another multi million dollar boondoggle with the most exotic solution possible that will at the end of the day be and expensive failure.

    All people do on this rock is whine and complain, at least McKeeva made a decision and now people whine that the decision wasn’t made correctly.

    How many years and nothing has been done?


    • Anonymous says:

      Your statement of “How many years and nothing has been done?” is silly, as McKeeva has been in power how many times before, when the dump was MUCH smaller, but DID NOTHING.

      Get real! The McKeeva supporters are saying what he is doing now, but where has he been and what has he been doing for you the last several decades???

  10. Confused says:

    I am a bit confused here. Did anybody vote for Mr. Watson? Is he employed by CIG in any capacity?

    Why havent the CIG, the Ministry officials responsible for this rfp mess, The Minister herself (l heard she’s off island buying a cell phone) or anybody from DEH providing an official statement or clarity on this matter? It all stinks worse than the dump.

    Who is really accountable to the Cayman Islands? i says that cause I dont think anybody voted for the Chairman of CTC.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am happy that any bidder, local or not will not be awarded the contract if they do not have everything in place. They will only do sloppy jobs which will in no doubt fire back at the government.

    • Anonymous says:

      Fancy you don’t like the castor oil served by Mr. Watson or the CTC Chair do ya laddy, looks like you much prefer the Kool Aid from your premier, well, keep drinking, you will soon get a fridge to put the balance in.

    • Son of Thunder says:

      The only thing in question here is which UDP cronie will get the contract!

  11. Slowpoke says:

     “We can’t just circumvent the process,” Watson said. “Dart was an unsuccessful bidder and to just say we will now go with Dart if negotiations break down is not right. The CTC process has to have integrity. We can’t undermine it.”

    Exactly, that is why Cohen got the financing deal,  OH, Wait!


  12. Anonymous says:

    bye bye canover…..
    ctc made a mess of the original rfp….. anybody who with a brain knows dart should have been given the dump a longtime ago
    well done mckeeva for attempting to cut through the red tape

    • Anonymous says:

      The only reason we should be saying bye bye canover is because he has the guts to stand up to Mac and uphold due process. If canover continues to do a good job for the people of the cayman islands instead of support nepotism, he can be sure Mac will find a way to replace him.

      Good job, Canover. Stick to what you know is right.