Letter of award to Bahamian consortium continues process of addressing landfill environmental concerns

Letter of award to Bahamian consortium continues process of addressing landfill environmental concerns
Minister of the Environment and Housing Romauld Ferreira. (FILE PHOTO)

The Letter of Award presented to the Bahamian consortium, Providence Advisors/Waste Resources Development Group (WRDG) on Wednesday (August 29) continues the government’s process of addressing one of the biggest environmental challenges facing the country, Minister of the Environment and Housing, the Hon. Romauld Ferreira said.

Minister Ferreira said he “has every confidence at this stage” that WRDG was the right choice for the investment and management service relating to the deconstruction, remediation and operation of the New Providence Sanitary Landfill.

“Trying to resolve this issue and resolving this situation, was a major concern for the Minnis Administration and this government,” he said.

“We believe and we are very confident based on, and I accept the results of, our technical experts within the ministry; and of course some of the technical experts were from the private sector.

“I accept their assessment and we have every confidence at this stage that the consortium will do as they say, and we believe that the right group and the right choice was made,” Minister Ferreira said.

“We are very, very certain based on the technical assessments (and) the caliber of people that did the technical assessments, that this is the best possible entity to take over the management of the New Providence Sanitary Landfill and we have every confidence at this time in their success and ultimately to derive benefits to the Bahamian people,” Minister Ferreira added.

He presented the principals of the consortium with a Letter of Award in accordance with the Terms and Conditions set out in the Request for Proposal (RFP) issued November 2017.  The presentation took place at the offices of the Ministry of the Environment and Housing.

WRDG has seven days to confirm their acceptance of the Letter of Award.

“Once they confirm their acceptance, we can begin to negotiate the Terms and Conditions of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) for the management and operation of the Landfill,” Minister Ferreira said.

The Environment and Housing Minister said this stage of the process allows the government to address one of the key environmental challenges facing the country.

“If you remember, I mentioned at a previous press conference here at the ministry that the biggest environmental challenge facing the Commonwealth of The Bahamas was the New Providence Sanitary Landfill site because of the risk of fire, because of its size, because of the fact that it is in New Providence and depending on the prevailing winds, the entire island can be affected.

“The second issue we identified upon coming to office, certainly within this Ministry, was the situation at Clifton Pier (and) so today, by tackling this particular issue, we look at this as a transformative moment, as a watershed moment, because for the first time we have a Bahamian consortium in association with the Government of The Bahamas and we are essentially entering into a Public Private Partnership (PPP) and so we are very excited.

“We believe that working together, we can resolve this long-standing issue,” Minister Ferreira added.

Minister Ferreira said the assessments were based on merit and ability and judged on empirical data.

“The technical team assembled was multi-disciplined in terms of the fact that it consisted of engineers, sanitation experts, environmentalists, attorneys, and accountants: they went through the process and this consortium came out on top,” Minister Ferreira said.

“From the beginning, we said we wanted to get this right. We emphasized that over and over again. We were more concerned with getting it right, going through the technical steps and doing a proper assessment.

“One of the beautiful things about having a Bahamian partner is that they are not going anywher – we are all in this together.”

Eighteen entities responded to the RFP.

“This was much broader range of entities responding,” Mr. Ferreira said. “When you have a broader range, what you really have is more to choose from and the Bahamian people can have much more confidence in the process because of more competition.”

Ken Kerr, the Consortium’s Financial Advisor, said the project is expected to transform “one of the most significant, long-standing environmental, social hazards in The Bahamas into a world-class model of environmental leadership, economic sustainability and community engagement” once negotiations on the Terms and Conditions have been finalized.

The Project is expected to be divided on the one part into Landfill remediation, operations and management, and on the other, renewable energy generation using waste streams from the Landfill.

“The Providence Advisors/Waste Resources Development Group (WRDG) consortium is honored to have been selected, via rigorous public process, to implement our vision for the transformation of the current Landfill Site and its surrounds into what will be known as the New Providence Ecology Park,” Mr. Kerr said.

“We are a 100 percent Bahamian company, led by Bahamians. We are proud to play a role in the stewardship of our country’s environmental well-being now and into the future.”

Mr. Kerr said the project will feature several sustainability measures and beneficial features for the immediate and long-term health of the surrounding communities and environment. These include, but are not limited to, extinguishing all fires at the site and implementing operational measures to prevent such fires in the future; remediating the existing site’s leaking toxins and health hazards – transforming the site into a “well run operation with much-reduced environmental impacts, and keeping the site clean, secure and green with lush, natural vegetation.

Additional measures are expected to include, recycling, reusing and recovering at least 50 percent or more of the waste generation on New Providence; installing Landfill gas and leachate collection and management systems; extending the current site’s operational lifespan to at least 2052; creating up to 30 megawatts of green, renewable power inclusive of up to 15MW of Solar Power and up to 15MW of Biomass generated power inclusive of LFG generated power.

Reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions by 220,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year (equivalent to the emissions of 37,000 automobiles); creating a public, mini-golf course, fitness circuit and ecology park within a buffer zone to provide a clean and serene oasis for neighbors and visitors, and creating a clean habitat for wildlife by organically treating contamination onsite using natural bio-filtration media and phytoremediation processes are all part of the expected outcomes in addition to the creation of 75 long-term jobs.