Bins boss rubbishes tip fee rise
One of Porirua’s more prominent businessmen recently made his first redundancy in 20 years, as severe competition and rising landfill fees squeeze his bottom line.
Gordon McCalman, who runs Gordies Bins, described the rise in tip fees as ‘‘a kick in the guts’’.
He has a dozen employees and six trucks on the road. He caters to the residential market primarily in Porirua and Tawa, although he has skips and is hoping to sell rubbish bags very soon.
The rise in landfill fees, however, has bit hard.
Porirua City Council’s strategy to have less waste going through the Spicer Landfill gates means Mr McCalman’s customers will have to meet the cost.
He estimated he would be charged an extra $8 a tonne or $4000 a month.
‘‘I’m the smallest kid on the block, with Transpacific and EnviroWaste able to swallow these extra charges and hold their prices. It’s the biggest issue I’m facing and it’s making life tough.’’
Mr McCalman is turning down sponsorship requests from local sports clubs and schools and looking at layoffs and restructuring.
He said his business could go the way of corner stores and local hardware shops that have disappeared.
‘‘It was the saddest day in my working life when I had to make a redundancy the other week. I just hope I keep getting that local support. I’m a Porirua boy and this is where my business lies. We’re a family at Gordies who live, work and play in this city and we give back to the local economy.’’
He said a meeting with Porirua mayor Nick Leggett and the city council’s solid waste manager Peter Keller last week allayed some of his anger and he has more understanding of the council’s position now.
‘‘They’re aware that the fees are hurting me, but I can see that they want to reduce the amount of waste that comes in and sustain the landfill.
‘‘All tips are facing the same problems.
‘‘What I’ve asked is that when their next review comes around in March or so, they look at not raising them again so much, or even holding the charges.’’
Mr Leggett said he has known Mr McCalman his whole life and that he ran a superb local business.
However, the council’s zero waste policy was implemented for ‘‘ sound financial and environmental reasons’’ and will prolong the life of Spicer Landfill.
The cost of another landfill would double the council’s debt overnight, Mr Leggett said.
‘‘There are a number of issues at play, aside from the landfill fees, that he’s facing and I hope he can come through those.
‘‘ His branching into rubbish bags should be applauded and I think he came away from our discussion happy when he heard council’s position.’’
Feeling the pinch: Gordon McCalman recently sold a house to improve his business’s cashflow, as he faces the toughest economic conditions since he started Gordies.