Montreal has approved construction of a $175-million composting plant

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The City Council of Montreal recently voted to approve the construction of a $175-million composting plant in St-Laurent borough. Suez Canada Waste Services Inc. will build the facility.

New provincial laws regulating odours added to the costs of the facility, said Coun. Émilie Thuillier, vice-chair of the city’s contract review committee.

Thuiller also said officials have chosen to entrust the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the future plant to a single bidder rather than splitting these responsibilities into several contracts, as usual. This, she explained, made for imprecise estimates.

Originally budgeted at $46 million by the City of Montreal, the estimated cost of the new compositng plant has jumped to $175,445,919.26. That includes $146 million for decontamination and construction costs and $29 million for operation and maintenance over five years, Jean-François Parenteau, the executive-committee member responsible for sustainable development, said last week.

The Council vote for the project was 35 for and 21 against. The main opposition to the project was from the Association of Suburban Municipalities. Councillors representing the Association said island suburbs were not given sufficient information to make an informed decision on the plant, even though they will be responsible for nearly $30 million of its cost.

SUEZ is one of the largest water and waste companies in the world.  In Canada, it  operates and maintains the Edmonton Co-Composting Facility, Edmonton Materials Recovery Facility, and maintains the Edmonton Integrated Processing & Transfer Facility for the City of Edmonton. SUEZ also operates and maintains the Swan Hills Treatment Centre for the Province of Alberta.

According to the Montreal Gazette, the City of Montreal’s City could have the most expensive waste composting operations in all of Canada.  Montreal’s 2019-2021 capital spending program shows that spending on the waste organics program is estimated to be $589 million.

In the summer, a whistleblower that alerted the media of the high cost of Montreal’s waste organics program called it the “most expensive composting plants in this universe.”

If all goes as planned, the new composting plant should be up and running by September 2021.

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