Town OK’s RFP to gauge market for recyclables

Duane Hicks

Could the town find a better use for its recyclables and make some money?
That’s a question that could be answered now that council gave the nod Monday night to issue a request for proposals (RFP) from individuals and/or commercial enterprises to purchase the town’s recyclable materials.
The RFP was prepared upon recommendations from the town’s Economic Development Advisory Committee, which wants to see what economic opportunities could flow from providing materials the town currently has to pay to ship away.
The purpose of the RFP is to determine if the private-sector has any serious interest in these materials.
Proposals should recognize the current costs and propose a lower or equal cost alternative.
“The recommendations grew out of a process that began with council’s strategic plan,” regional economic developer Geoff Gillon wrote in a report to council.
“The committee explored a variety of structural options that would facilitate positive development outcomes and provided those options to council,” he added.
Now that the RFP is going ahead, town administration and the town’s solicitor will review the document, after which time the Rainy River Future Development Corp. will advertise the RFP.
The tentative closing date will be early June.
A report regarding the results of the RFP will be presented to council later this summer.
In 2010, the town shipped 405 tonnes of recyclables (an average of 33.75 tonnes per month) to the Metro material recovery facility in Winnipeg (this does not include 33.57 tonnes of glass, which is delivered to Nexcycle in Guelph).
The cost of shipping the recyclables and the payment to Metro was about $40,000. The cost per tonne, excluding labour and management costs, was about $98.77 per tonne.
The town currently is under contract for curbside collection of co-mingled recyclables until November, 2014.
Also at Monday night’s meeting, Gillon gave an update on RRFDC activities for the first quarter of 2011.
He noted there has been further investigation into a “Go Local” customer loyalty campaign here, which likely will roll out here by the end of the year.
Gillon said delegates have gone to Sonoma, Calif., have seen how the project works there, and sent applications to senior government seeking support to expand such a project across Rainy River District—and possibly Northwestern Ontario.
“I think it’s time for us to seriously look at helping our businesses retain business,” Gillon remarked.
“It’s a rewards project that helps businesses track customers, but also helps businesses promote themselves through their customers,” he explained.
“With the Canadian dollar [high], there’s serious leakage from our local economy southward,” Gillon noted. “We haven’t seen this kind of leakage since the early 1990s.
“It’s definitely something we’ll have to address, and we think the ‘Go Local’ project will be something to help us.
“We look forward to working with businesses across Fort Frances and the district in coming months as we put that together,” Gillon said.
Other activities the RRFDC undertook included:
•working more closely with EDAC;
•reviewing the town’s website from an economic development perspective, with an eye to upgrading it to make it more user-friendly;
•purchasing a sign at Thunder Bay Airport promoting Fort Frances;
•advertising Fort Frances as a tourist destination in maps and magazines;
•negotiating the renewal of the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship sign at the waterfront;
•attending mining meetings across Ontario and in Minnesota to explore opportunities in that industry;
•receiving four commercial sales inquiries;
•sending out 450 letters to former residents to let them know about the condo project being developed and ask them to consider retiring here;
•preparing an expression of interest for the old public library;
•reviewing infrastructure incentive programs and beginning to implement a more aggressive promotional strategy; and
•putting out a call to hire a summer student, who will help out during the International Tug of War on July 2 and the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship later that month.