“It’s time to put this tender to bed,” councillor Nobby Clark said about Southland’s controversial recycling tender process.
The Invercargill City Council voted on Tuesday to ask its chief executive to negotiate the controversial WasteNet tender process closure with the Southland and Gore district councils.
The Southland and Gore district councils voted in June for Smart Environmental to win the tender over Southland disAbility Enterprises (SdE), which was already providing the service. However the Invercargill council did not support it.
WasteNet then decided to extend SdE’s contract while the tender process was decided.
At the meeting on Tuesday, Cr Clark moved the motion, telling councillors he did not see any advantage in the tender process sitting with the WasteNet Advisory Group.
Before the debate could start, Cr Alex Crackett sought to send the matter into a public-excluded session.
When challenged, she said councillors received an email half an hour before the meeting with “really important information”.
The council then decided to discuss the material behind closed doors.
When the public returned, it was explained councillors had an email from Smart Environmental’s lawyer Wynn Williams which put the council on notice.
“Smart has instructed us to formally put the Council on notice that if the RFP (tender) is closed without awarding a contract, Smart will consider every possible avenue to recover its costs and losses associated with the RFP from the Council,” Mr Williams wrote.
Councillors approved the motion for council chief executive Clare Hadley to negotiate the tender closure by December 24.
Cr Toni Biddle also requested the current SdE contract be extended another 12 to 24 months in order to review the waste plan and also the tender process. Councillors agreed to discuss her request at the next full council meeting next year.
Also at the meeting, Cr Clark withdrew his request to put on hold the Water Tower strengthening work. All other councillors who spoke said the work to make the water tower up to 67% compliance should go ahead.
There was a full support of Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt over a Code of Conduct complaint from Cr Lesley Soper.
The matter related to a formal complaint Mrs Hadley had received from Cr Soper in June.
The complaint concerned a comment made by Sir Tim during a council meeting on June 24, about a member of Cr Soper’s family, which she found “unacceptable, offensive, discourteous, and disrespectful”.
The report by independent investigator Robert Buchanan was presented at the council meeting. In it he advocated for a retraction and apology in public from Sir Tim to Cr Soper.
Cr Rebecca Amundsen moved the recommendation on the report, but none of the councillors wanted to second it.
A public apology was not required from Sir Tim.
During the debate, Mrs Hadley said council spent about $9000 on the Code of Conduct process.