New company to look after Minden Hills landfills
By Chad Ingram
Minden Hills council voted to award the contract for landfill attendant services at the municipality’s landfills to a new company during their Sept. 24 meeting.
Highlands Environmental, owned by Paul Barclay of Minden River Cone and Dave Roylance of Lochlin Services, will get the three-year contract, with options for two years of renewal.
Highlands Environmental was the only company to bid on the contract and Barclay and Roylance made a presentation to council during a meeting Sept. 10.
Part of their strategy is to find new revenue streams to help offset costs, as well as save space.
“Mattresses can be bundled and sold,” Barclay said, explaining they need to be stored vertically and that stacking mattresses the way they’re currently stacked takes up space, as well as releasing toxins and acting as a home for vermin.
“Construction and demolition waste is one of the largest sources of material at the Scotch Line,” Barclay said, adding Highlands Environmental would explore options to reduce the amount of construction waste going into the landfill and if those diversion strategies could also generate revenue.
He said there were multiple ways to control seagulls – “flying rats” – and that the company would also like to create more educational opportunities for users of the landfills on the importance of responsible practices.
“Here in the Haliburton Highlands, we see first-hand where most of our waste goes,” Barclay said.
For the 2014/15 year, landfill attendant costs for the township were just more than $170,000, with an hourly pay rate of $15.72.
The contract is for attendant services at the Scotch Line landfill, Ingoldsby, Little Gull and Ironmine transfer stations and the Irondale landfill on Milburn Road.
The offer from Highlands Environmental includes a four per cent increase each year, which would bring the overall cost to more than $200,000 by 2019/2020, with the hourly rate at $18.57.
Some members of council took issue with this increase, Councillor Pam Sayne pointing out it was larger than any cost of living raise given to municipal staff.
“We have the ability to monitor their performance,” said Reeve Brent Devolin, pointing to the company’s revenue-generating ideas. “We fully expect that they’re offsetting revenues.”
Councillor Jeanne Anthon expressed the same worry as Sayne.
“I do have a concern that an increase of four per cent a year means that these employees are getting paid more than our own employees,” Anthon said.
Chief administrative officer Lorrie Blanchard said the contract could be amended to include passing performance reviews from council.
“If it’s determined that we’re desperately out of sync, then we can review it at that time,” Blanchard said.
Councillor Ron Nesbitt wondered whether current landfill attendants would retain their positions.
Blanchard said staffing would be up to the company.
Landfills in Minden Hills have been looked after by Watson General Contracting in recent years.