Government appears to have found two companies willing to take a stockpile of used tires at the George Town Landfill site off its hands, but neither is likely to be paying anything for them.
There were two firm bids in response to a renewed request for proposals for private companies to dispose of the tires when the time limit for bids passed earlier this month.
It was the fifth time the project had been put out to tender. No bids were received on any of the previous occasions. The crucial difference this time was that government was willing to accept “nominal bids” for the tires – meaning they were essentially available for free.
Golf resort developer Ironwood had said that it would be willing to take the tires, shred them and use them as fill for the project. But a spokesman for the company confirmed this week that it had not made an official bid.
Estimates of how many tires are piled up at the landfill site vary wildly – from 500,000 to 2 million. They have been labeled a health hazard because of the fumes they give off during fires – a frequent and recent menace in Grand Cayman in particular.
Nancy Barnard, deputy chief officer in the Ministry of Health, confirmed, “There were two firm bids in response to the RFP. The assessment committee has met and made its recommendation to the Central Tenders Committee.”
She was unable to give a date for a final decision on the bid. Government had hoped to cash in on the mountain of tires, initially asking for companies to bid to buy the tires – an approach that is routinely used for scrap metal.
But after four RFPs failed to find a bidder, the terms were changed in the latest tender documents to allow “nominal bids” – opening up the prospect of companies taking the tires essentially for free.
The successful bidder will be required to process and remove tires from all three landfill sites at Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac at its own cost. They will be entitled to any profit they can make from selling on the tires.