Tony Bell (ex-councillor), Castlemaine
What a great spiel by Mount Alexander Shire Council on the front page of the Express (‘New Kid on the kerbside’, October 2).
“Under the new contract, the waste will now be headed to Veolia’s Patho landfill site.”
The real reason waste from our shire is going to Patho is because our latest cell at Castlemaine is almost at capacity after only 2.5 years. This cell when constructed was supposed to have a minimum life of between four to six years.
Let’s step back a bit ratepayers. In 2014, council voted to award the new Cell 4 Construction to Ertech, a West Australian based company. I, as councillor, voted against. My reason? We had a local earthmoving company who was $200,000 cheaper (Leech Earthmoving Contracting). A local company that employs local people who pay rates and spend money in our shire. This wasn’t my only reason. This company had local knowledge and was well aware of what was required to build the new cell, as it had built several of the previous cells.
When I continually questioned the cost blowouts of the new Cell 4 construction through its journey, I was given answers that I could not believe (bearing in mind people, I’m am experienced earthmover of 30 years by trade). In short, the shire’s new landfill cell was priced at $1.7 million by Leech, awarded to Ertech at $1.9 million, but cost us ratepayers a whopping $3.4 million!
I asked for an audit and it was forthcoming. I did not accept the findings of the audit as it was conducted by people with no earthmoving background. It gets better. Now we have our new cell at capacity in 2.5 years! This is due to the council not having a rubbish compactor at the landfill, as the previous contractor supplied. This new cell is now like a sponge as it has not been compacted from the bottom up, airspace lost.
So ratepayers, do the sums. You have a landfill cell that cost us $3.4 million at completion and you have paid your landfill levy annually since then. Not much of a return at all. In fact, nil return. This is without the vast sums of money you will be forking out for rehabilitation works to be carried out in the future. Councillors you need to be held to account for allowing this to happen.