The government expects to collect at least CI$300,000 for the scrap metal now stored at the George Town Landfill.
Cabinet Minister Arden McLean said Friday three bids were received on the invitation to tender to purchase the metal, which includes thousands of old vehicles. The Central Tenders Committee will now make the decision as to who will have the right to ship the scrap metal off the island to an overseas buyer.
Although Mr. McLean did not say how much the actual bids were for, he did say it would cover the amount government had spent on the collection of the scrap metal.
‘It has cost this country in the region of $300,000,’ he said. ‘I am not prepared not to receive that and more because I know what it’s worth on the open market.’
A good deal of the scrap metal is in the form of old vehicles, not all of which were ruined by Hurricane Ivan.
‘There’s also [heavy] equipment like bulldozers, cranes and the like,’ Mr. McLean said.
The successful bidder is supposed to have all the metal off the island by May 2007.
‘We want all of that scrap metal out of the country before the next hurricane season comes along.’
Mr. McLean said the vehicles are taking up about 10 acres of land at the landfill.
‘I am anxious to get this out of here,’ he said.
‘It’s taking up too much of the ability and capacity of [the landfill].’
In addition to removing the scrap metal that is already at the landfill, there will be a campaign to do a ‘clean up of the country’ by getting residents to deliver to the landfill other scrap metal on their property such as derelict vehicles, Mr. McLean said.
Although he could not say exactly how many derelict vehicles there are in the community, Mr. McLean said a ‘windscreen survey’ put the figure between 2,000 and 3,000 vehicles.
A good number of those vehicles have been abandoned on the road to the landfill, but many others remain parked on people’s property. Mr. McLean said he did not know if people were keeping them for parts or why they might not be disposing of them. However, he warned that there were abatement provisions in the Public Health Law to force residents to properly dispose of the vehicles.
Mr. McLean said there were no plans for the Department of Environmental Health to go collect the scrap metal in the community, only for a campaign to encourage residents to bring it to the landfill.
This will not be the only bid process the government goes through to dispose of scrap metal. Mr. McLean said there is now a policy in place to allow for the selling off of scrap metal from the landfill every few years as enough of it accumulates to make it worthwhile to ship off the island.
So that it will not take up as much space between sell-offs, a metal baler has been purchased by the government that will reduce the size of cars to small five-foot long rectangles. Two DoEH employees were sent in late November to the United States for training on how to use the balers. Mr. McLean said the balers were expected on the island at any time now.