Bins boss rub­bishes tip fee rise

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

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.’’

Photo: KRIS DANDO

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.

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