After five previous unsuccessful attempts to find a buyer for a mountain of scrapped tires at the George Town landfill, officials now plan to pay a recycling firm to get rid of them.
A contract to dispose of the tires has been conditionally awarded to Island Recycling.
Neither the Central Tenders Committee or the Department of Environmental Health were prepared to say how much the company will be paid to dispose of the tires. The Cayman Compass understands that the fee will depend on precisely how many tires are actually at the site.
Previous estimates of the number of tires have varied from 500,000 to 2 million.
Government had hoped to find someone to buy the tires but gave up after five requests for proposals failed to find a suitable bidder.
Roydell Carter, the director of the Department of Environmental Health, said five companies had responded to a revised RFP last year.
“This is the first time government considered paying some money to the successful bidder to remove the tires,” he said.
Mr. Carter said the contract was conditional and had not been finalized as yet. He referred the Compass to the Central Tenders Committee for more details. The CTC had not responded to questions by press time Wednesday. Ultimately, the shredded tires could end up in a new golf course, planned for the eastern districts.
Developer Ironwood said last week that it had received authorization from the Department of Environment to use the shredded tires as fill for its planned Arnold Palmer designed golf course.
The developer says research from its own experts as well as the Department of Environment, showed there would be no environmental cost to using the tires in the golf course.
Mr. Carter said the Department of Environmental Health received no bid from Ironwood to take the tires and the scheme would be subject to a separate agreement between the developer and the winning bidder. Denise Gower, spokeswoman for Ironwood, said in a statement last week, that the company would be taking the tires.
“Undoubtedly, the tires are a significant environmental threat where and as they are. But, the Cayman Islands Government has acted responsibly and has found a viable solution. That Ironwood will be able use material that is currently an environmental hazard and convert it to a product that will benefit the environment is the ideal outcome, for the Government, for Ironwood and the earth,” she said.
The tires have been labeled a health hazard because of the fumes they give off during fires – a frequent problem at the site. They are also eating up rapidly diminishing space at the landfill.