Cost of Composting in Montreal Skyrockets

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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.”

The latest figure is up by 70 per cent over last year’s estimate of $344 million, though no shovel has yet gone into the ground. The project is also now more than double the initial price tag of $237.5 million that was announced in 2013.

The key changes between the new 2019-2021 capital works program and the 2018-2020 program are as follows:

  • St-Laurent composting plant: cost goes from $65.3 million in previous program to $131.9 million in new program. Delayed from December 2020 to August 2021.
  • Montreal-East biomethanation plant: goes from $72.8 million to $126.4 million in new program. Delayed from December 2020 to August 2021.
  • R.D.P.–Pointe-aux-Trembles composting plant: goes from $46.9 million in previous program to $90.7 million in new program. Delayed from December 2020 to June 2024.
  • LaSalle biomethanation plant: goes from $89.1 million in previous program to $143 million in new program. Delayed from June 2024 to June 2025.
  • Montreal-East pre-treatment plant: goes from $22.2 million to $31.1 million in new program. Delayed from December 2021 to September 2024.

The cost increase is the result of high bids on contracts to design, build, operate and maintain the first three of the five centres, the city executive committee member responsible for the project, Jean-François Parenteau, said on Thursday.

The city received a single bid in two of the calls for tenders, and two bids in the third.  La compagnie de recyclage de papiers MD and SUEZ Canada Waste Services were each the sole bidder on, respectively, a composting plant in Rivière-des-Prairies—Pointe-aux-Trembles borough and a biomethanation plant in the suburb of Montreal-East.

La compagnie de recyclage de papiers MD is a Quebec based company that has been in operation since 1991.  In 2017, it won a contract to design, build, operate and ensure the maintenance of a new recyclable materials sorting centre in the Montreal borough of Lachine.

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.

The two companies were the only competitors for a composting centre in St-Laurent borough.