A timeline for the completion of Cayman’s solid waste management project, including proposals for potential solutions at the growing George Town Landfill, will extend beyond the current term of the Progressives-led government, Health Minister Osbourne Bodden confirmed Thursday.
Mr. Bodden also acknowledged that while the landfill is expected to remain at its current location in George Town, proposals for satellite locations for such things as recycling and composting would be considered as part of a wholesale revamp to the Cayman Islands waste management process.
Consultants with U.K.-based AMEC have been in Cayman for the past week to evaluate the situation at the 80-foot high dump, as well as to visit the mounting landfill on Cayman Brac’s south coast and the Little Cayman landfill.
AMEC project manager Phil Scott said Thursday that Cayman appears to be “about 20 to 30 years” behind the U.K. in its solid waste management systems, and noted that while Britain slowly changed its recycling and composting habits, he hoped for a quicker turnaround in Cayman.
“The existing waste management system is not sustainable for the future. It has to change,” Mr. Scott said.
Health Ministry Chief Officer Jennifer Ahearn, who leads the government’s committee in charge of the waste management project, said Thursday that AMEC consultants would produce a 50-year solid waste management strategy in the first half of next year. The strategy will encompass commentary and suggestions from a series of public meetings that will be scheduled in early 2015.
After the strategy identifies a “preferred project option” for the waste management operations, expected to occur sometime in the latter half of 2015, bidding on the project will begin, probably in late 2015, Ms. Ahearn said.
Minister Bodden said a successful contractor would hopefully be chosen in early 2016, with works to begin in late 2016 on whatever type of waste management option is selected for the George Town Landfill.
This leaves the completion of the waste management initiative to the next government, Mr. Bodden acknowledged, noting that general elections will probably be held in Cayman in May 2017.
“We hope [the new government] will be us,” the Progressives party minister said. “But whoever it is, they won’t be able to discontinue this process.”
Government’s senior project manager for the proposed integrated solid waste management system, Jim Schubert, indicated that bidding on the contract will likely be split among several companies. He said it is possible that some works could start early, including construction of recycling stations or composting facilities.
“The bigger facilities [at the George Town landfill] will take time to be developed,” Mr. Schubert said.
AMEC was chosen as the chief consultant for the landfill/waste management project 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.
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 waste services infrastructure.
The consulting firm operates in 41 countries, with the Cayman Islands solid waste system being its latest project.