Grey County wants to know the feasibility of adopting a county-wide solid waste management service model.
Grey County recently received $150,000 toward the completion of a county-wide waste management feasibility study through the province's Municipal Modernization Fund.
“The project will undertake an assessment and comparison of solid waste management services provided by Grey's member municipalities. This will include system operations and performance, operational costs, current asset value, capital investment requirements, policies and procedures, and current service contracts,” stated Grey County CAO, Kim Wingrove in a staff report to council.
The feasibility study is expected to assist county council in making a determination on whether there is a role for Grey County in solid waste service delivery, as well as provide recommendations on cost saving and operational improvements.
“It was great to see that financial support. However, the timeline associated with the grant is very concerning,” Wingrove said.
In the correspondence from the province, the ministry of municipal affairs is asking the county to have the study completed by the end of November.
Wingrove said that since the funding announcement she has met with the CAO of each of the county's nine lower-tier municipalities to discuss the timeline and does not believe it is possible to complete the study by the end of November.
She has requested an extension from the ministry to February 2022.
“I don't know how many consultants we will be able to secure at this time given how busy everybody is, or whether or not the grant funds will be sufficient to carry out the project,” Wingrove said, adding that the county may need to provide additional resources to complete the task.
She explained that while the county is driving the initiative, most of the work for the study will need to be undertaken by the lower-tier municipalities.
“The county is more than happy to do the procurement and to facilitate all of these discussions, providing oversight to the consultant,” she said. “But at the end of the day, the information that the consultant needs to be able to complete this project successfully is information that resides with your individual municipalities.”
The study is expected to compare existing waste management operations, policy, procedure, landfill capacity and value of infrastructure in nine lower tiers; consider regulatory, environmental, economic, social factors; solicit and audit public engagement feedback; develop a financing plan; and examine liability concerns.
During a recently held committee of the whole meeting, county council passed a motion that directed staff to enter into a funding agreement with the ministry, contingent upon receiving an extension to February.
Staff were also directed to strike a project steering committee that is to consist of staff from each lower-tier municipality. The steering committee will be bringing a report back to council with a draft RFP for the study.
If the ministry does not grant an extension for the funding agreement, Grey County still plans to pursue the feasibility study and will move the funding request into its budget considerations for 2022.
Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca