A consultancy firm with operations in 40 countries has been selected to help plan the Cayman Islands government’s 50-year waste management strategy.
AMEC was chosen after a bidding process through the government’s Central Tenders Committee for a contract of just more than $500,000. The cost includes financial consultant KPMG, which is partnering with AMEC.
In addition to preparing a national strategy for solid waste, AMEC is also contracted to prepare a business case and procurement support for the eventual creation of an “integrated solid waste management system.” That system will include a revamp of trash collection, operations at the George Town Landfill, and recycling and waste-to-energy proposals, according to Health Minister Osbourne Bodden.
“We took great pains to ensure that the process would be well-governed from start to finish,” Minister Bodden said. “I believe that we will meet our goals in a timely and efficient way.”
Environmental reviews and a risk assessment of the existing landfill site will come before the completion of the long-term strategy. In addition, a round of public meetings will be scheduled shortly for residents to give their views on waste management to AMEC consultants.
Minister Bodden has said on several occasions that plant construction at the landfill in Cayman should begin by next summer, with works to be finalized by the end of 2016. Operations there were slated to begin in 2017.
However, the minister said Wednesday that, based on advice and given all that needed to be done, it appeared doubtful that the initial project time line could be kept. Nonetheless, he promised that he would “drive the process as hard as I can.” “There is no greater priority to me,” he said. “At the same time, I have to be realistic and ensure all is done properly, including an environmental impact assessment that will be needed. The main thing is that it is being done and there is no turning back.”
Minister Bodden, who acknowledged in a Legislative Assembly meeting held on Cayman Brac in April that he is no expert on the subject of waste management, said it would do no good for government to simply start issuing requests for proposals and seeking “piecemeal” bids for items such as waste removal, a new landfill, a recycling center or a waste-to-energy plant until it knows how the various aspects of such a system will operate.
“Does this process take time? Yes, it does. However, I do not believe [it] means unwarranted delay,” Mr. Bodden said. Once the national strategy for waste is completed, the government will seek proposals and identify a “preferred project option,” he said.
A strategic outline case for the project, released in May, recommended that plans for new waste management facilities be produced alongside a comprehensive national solid waste management strategy encompassing all three islands and embracing recycling and waste-to-energy technology.
AMEC’s website for its U.K.-based operations states that the company delivers “environmental, engineering and consultancy services to customers across the public and private sectors.” The company boasts of specialists in planning, environmental, science, engineering, geology, chemistry, biology, economics and social development. In 2012, AMEC was awarded a contract with the North London Waste Authority for a waste services infrastructure.
“AMEC has … extensive experience in waste management planning,” Health Ministry chief officer Jennifer Ahearn said. “With their assistance, I believe we can retain a strong sense of direction as we work to improve our solid waste system.” The Cayman Islands Public Works Department will retain its own project manager for the waste management overhaul. Jim Schubert, a veteran of the Canadian waste management industry, was recently hired to oversee “all aspects of project delivery for the proposed integrated solid waste management system.”