In a decision that is puzzling in these times of transparency in Local Government, ratepayers of Nambucca, Bellingen and Coffs Harbour City shires remain in the dark about the mediated solution between Coffs Harbour City Council and Biomass Solutions over the red bin waste dispute.
Nambucca Valley Council’s General Manager Michael Coulter said while the councils themselves had received some information, the outcome was commercial-in-confidence and therefore not able to be made public without both parties agreeing.
“This type of agreement is something that occurs all the time in the private sector but it sits less easily in the Government sector,” Mr Coulter said.
Be that as it may, Nambucca Valley councillors voted behind closed doors last Thursday to focus on the future, beyond 2027 when the current complicated waste contract expires, exploring all possible options.
The plan is to do so together with Bellingen Shire Council, sharing the cost of a consultancy to identify preferred arrangements for recycling and green waste processing post March 2027.
“We can of course continue with the existing Coffs Coast Waste Service arrangements but we need to have other options as well … it is a way of covering our bases for the future” Mr Coulter said.
Councillors also voted in favour of commissioning a full cost accounting of the shire’s waste disposal to better define the annual cost of landfilling waste.
“We last did that back in 2002 so it is due for an update. The cost of landfilling includes fees and levies and licences plus compactors, which are about $600,000 each.
“We have to have a go at working our landfill prices out from first principals … and then also ensure they are comparable with neighbouring councils.”