If there ever was a question, the city is now completely out of the business of paper recycling. In April city council gave the waste management staff several options to consider after bankruptcy proceedings with Greys Paper. A report headed to Tuesday’s council meeting recommends that not only should the city abandon paper recycling, management should prepare a whole new strategy for the city’s Waste Management Centre.
“The strategy shall be all-encompassing, including but not limited to a review of overall site design and best practices related to municipal waste collection, waste sorting technologies, composting, anaerobic digestion and construction and demolition waste management,” the report said. The report is due in 2018 to be reviewed as a budget item.
The report does not identify dollar amounts for the dispersal of assets from Greys Paper. The City filed a court order that terminated the leases held by Greys and “took possession of the City’s building and paper-making equipment. As a result of the bankruptcy process, the trustee took action to liquidate Greys’ assets and eventually released the remaining Greys assets to Canada Revenue Agency Greys largest creditor,” the report said.
That means taxpayers hang on to the valuable paper recycling equipment while the Canada Revenue Agency is going after Greys’ other assets, said Coun. Mike Nickel.
“We tried to cover our bases to the best of our ability as a landlord,” he said. “At the end of the day they get access to the smaller stuff that we didn’t’ feel worthy of securing.”
“The whole idea was, we were just the landlord so we provided them with the space in which to operate. Things didn’t work out so now we’re exercising our due diligence and trying to get the value out where we can.”
Nickel has lots of questions about the future of the entire waste management facility. “It speaks to a litany of issues that are happening under the deck and it’s back to the question of do we have the proper managers in place? This is an issue I’ve taken up with the city manager on more than one occasion for several departments and we’re going through a re-organization, and if there ever was a time to look at if we have solid management in our various branches, now’s the time.”
The city and Greys did two separate deals for a total of $4.3 million. The first agreement in November, 2012 was for the city to purchase the building equipment and the second agreement in January, 2014, was for the purchase of paper making equipment.
In hindsight, that appeared to be the wrong time to pursue paper recycling, because of the advent of the iPad and other electronic devices as the office culture switched to wanting a paper-less work place and the market dried up.
Read the report here at item 6.1