January 12, 2004

MMSB awards recycling contract, seeks investigation of inventory discrepancy

ST JOHN'S NFLD-Newfoundland and Labrador's Multi-Materials Stewardship Board (MMSB) recently awarded Nova Recycling 1990 the processing contract for beverage container recycling for the island of Newfoundland. The contract runs from January 15, 2004 to March 31, 2009. (In Labrador, B&D Enterprises, of Wabush, is the contractor for processing this material.) At the same time, MMSB chair Gordon Seabright said the Board has asked the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to investigate an alleged past inventory discrepancy for beverage containers at one of Nova Recycling's processing centres. The Board discovered the discrepancy in April 2003 when the company was under previous ownership; the two parties tried to settle the matter through the High Sheriff of Newfoundland and Labrador, but could not agree on terms of reference for a review. More recently, MMSB has been working with Nova Recycling's new owner to try to resolve the issue. MMSB is required to award contracts to the lowest bidder in an open tender process. The awarding of the new contract was based on prescribed criteria set for all bidders. In addition to being the lowest bidder for the two processing centres on the island, Nova Recycling met all post-tender requirements. Seabright noted that the Board is also responsible for monitoring its contractors. In this case, it is ensuring that an independent body, i.e. the RCMP, will apply its expertise in investigations to determine the cause of any past operational discrepancy at Nova Recycling. Meanwhile, provincial Environment Minister Tom Osborne defended the contract award, pointing out that the contract had already in fact been awarded by the previous administration and the MMSB has a legal obligation to proceed. This, he added, is supported by a legal opinion. Osborne further indicated the government's support for the MMSB's decision to call in the RCMP to investigate the discrepancy.
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