Stern war­ning to mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties o­ver land­fill si­te

George Herald - - VOORBLAD - A­li­da de Beer

We­stern Ca­pe Mi­nis­ter of En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs and De­ve­lop­ment Plan­ning An­ton B­re­dell has is­su­ed a stern war­ning to le­a­ders of lo­cal mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties in E­den t­hat ha­ve been vo­ci­fe­rous in the me­dia re­cent­ly a­bout the mas­si­ve cost of a new re­gi­o­nal land­fill si­te t­hey say t­hey can­not af­ford.

A new re­gi­o­nal si­te must be es­ta­blis­hed within the next 14 mont­hs, as the cur­rent Pe­troSA si­te has al­most re­a­ched the end of its li­fe­ti­me. At a re­cent meet­ing the George Coun­cil dis­cus­sed a mo­ti­on to ap­ply for aid from the We­stern Ca­pe De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs and De­ve­lop­ment Plan­ning to­wards the es­ta­blishment of the new si­te, which will de­mand an an­nu­al R31-mil­li­on con­tri­bu­ti­on from the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty. The­re will be a short­fall of R17-mil­li­on for the 2018/19 book y­e­ar.

In a strongly wor­ded sta­te­ment is­su­ed on Mon­day 24 Ju­ly, B­re­dell said, "Ef­fi­cient­ly run mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties re­main key to de­li­ve­ring the ser­vi­ces nee­ded to ma­ke the pro­vin­ce a bet­ter pla­ce for all who li­ve in it. The es­ta­blishment of t­his si­te is vi­tal to ad­dress was­te ma­na­ge­ment and en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns re­la­ted to was­te dis­po­sal in the E­den dis­trict and I know our mu­ni­ci­pal le­a­ders are ful­ly a­wa­re of t­his fact. Gi­ven the ur­gen­cy of t­his pro­ject t­hat is cur­rent­ly at a cri­ti­cal s­ta­ge, the de­part­ment and I will not he­si­ta­te to act if lo­cal aut­ho­ri­ties do not coope­ra­te and com­ply with t­heir con­sti­tu­ti­o­nal man­da­te in t­his re­gard. Le­a­ders stand for pu­blic of­fi­ce be­cau­se t­hey are wil­ling to al­so ma­ke the dif­fi­cult de­ci­si­ons t­hat be­ne­fit t­heir com­mu­ni­ties in the long run."

B­re­dell said it would be "en­vi­ron­men­tal­ly di­sas­trous" for the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties of Bi­tou, Knys­na, George and Mos­sel Bay if the si­te is not es­ta­blis­hed. The af­fected mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties ha­ve been con­sul­ted by E­den Dis­trict Mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty in a con­sul­ta­ti­ve pro­cess sin­ce 2007 and the de­part­ment has "re­pe­a­ted­ly" war­ned them t­hat the­re would be an in­cre­a­se in the cost of was­te ma­na­ge­ment and t­hat t­hey should in­vest in the es­ta­blishment of in­fra­struc­tu­re to re­co­ver was­te ma­te­ri­al and mi­ni­mi­se was­te. "Very few of the af­fected mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties pri­o­ri­ti­sed the es­ta­blishment of the was­te ma­na­ge­ment in­fra­struc­tu­re."

Na­ti­o­nal stan­dards too ex­pen­si­ve

B­re­dell ad­mit­ted, though, t­hat new na­ti­o­nal norms and stan­dards for land­fills a­dop­ted in 2013 "im­pacted ne­ga­ti­ve­ly" on the cost of the es­ta­blishment of the new re­gi­o­nal si­te. "My de­part­ment and I are wor­king clo­se­ly with the Na­ti­o­nal De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs to re­view the la­test norms and stan­dards for land­fill si­tes in the ho­pe of ma­king it mo­re af­for­da­ble for mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties to es­ta­blish was­te dis­po­sal fa­ci­li­ties."

Ef­fi­cient­ly run mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties re­main key to de­li­ve­ring the ser­vi­ces nee­ded to ma­ke the pro­vin­ce a bet­ter pla­ce for all who li­ve in it.

In re­spon­se to B­re­dell's sta­te­ment, George Mu­ni­ci­pal Ma­na­ger Trevor Bo­tha said,

"The George Mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty is con­fi­dent t­hat Mi­nis­ter B­re­dell will be a­ble to enga­ge the re­le­vant na­ti­o­nal de­part­ments to as­sist mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties with mat­ters sur­roun­ding af­for­da­bi­li­ty, es­pe­ci­al­ly re­gar­ding i­ni­ti­al cos­ts to­wards the es­ta­blishment of the new si­te, which is not re­la­ted to the ton­na­ge of was­te ge­ne­ra­ted. The mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty is in­ves­ti­ga­ting all a­ve­nues to en­s­u­re t­hat our con­tri­bu­ti­on to the re­gi­o­nal land­fill si­te is mo­re af­for­da­ble and we are trying to en­s­u­re our ra­te­pay­ers are spa­red sig­ni­fi­cant re­fu­se ta­riff in­cre­a­ses. We rei­te­ra­te t­hat the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty is not a­gainst the land­fill fa­ci­li­ty, re­cog­ni­ses its ne­ces­si­ty, and con­ti­nues to pla­ce as ma­ny as pos­si­ble was­te mi­ni­ma­li­sa­ti­on me­a­su­res in pla­ce to re­du­ce o­ver­all cost."

Last week George He­rald jour­na­list

Mi­chel­le Pie­naar re­por­ted on Bo­tha's stan­ce, na­me­ly t­hat the af­fected mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties are con­cer­ned t­hat mat­ters such as was­te re­ducti­on ef­forts, con­sul­tant fees, as­set pro­cu­re­ment, o­pe­ra­ti­o­nal cos­ts and ti­me fra­mes "ha­ve not been ad­dres­sed sa­tis­fac­to­ri­ly". So­me "unspe­ci­fied" cos­ts could ha­ve been a­voi­ded or ad­dres­sed dif­fe­rent­ly to re­du­ce mu­ni­ci­pal con­tri­bu­ti­ons.

E­den Mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty has not re­spon­ded to a re­quest for comment.

An­ton B­re­dell

Trevor Bo­tha

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