Once more the rubbish collection contract is in the news. For the past four years the local government in Torrevieja has struggled to find a solution that’s both good value and contracted correctly. The subject is always in and out of the papers in Torrevieja and in Orihuela Costa. The reason, is that collecting and disposing of refuse commands big money, around 16 million euros a year.
As the four party council is in its last weeks of government it is making one last attempt to put this issue to sleep. Torrevieja Town Council is planning to tender the waste collection contract, street cleaning and beach cleaning before the hand over to the next government on May 26th. The specifications for putting the contract to tender have more or less been in place since the beginning of 2017. However, the minority position of the four-party councillors has meant that they have been unable to pursue their wish to have a correctly contracted cleaning service.
Now, however, we are told that they no longer need the agreement of the majority of the councillors including those in opposition, and that they can go ahead with the agreement of governing councillors only. If this is passed then the publication of the details of the contract can take place and the process can begin.
The current cleaning service is carried out by Acciona. They have done so without a contract since June 2016. Their contract was originally first awarded in 2004 and was guaranteed for ten years. After the 10 years expired it was extended for another two years. However, the four-party government team has always had in mind to put the contract out to tender again and take over control of its management. Without having a clear majority, this has proved impossible to do.
Many people are unhappy with the current cleaning service. People complain both in the urbanisations and the town centre itself. There are concerns about insufficient containers, lack of litter bins and the use of old and outdated machinery. Certainly the need to look afresh at how the contract is carried out and the stock of trucks involved is evident.
The new contract will require environmental quality certificates and the electric operation of auxiliary vehicles. The government wants the collection to be done through a lateral loading system and street washing to be extended beyond a few areas in the very centre of the town.
The former mayor of Torrevieja and PP councillor Pedro Hernández Mateo.was imprisoned for three years for falsifying documents and had another 11 years of disqualification from public office imposed. The fraudulent awarding of the 2004 contract to Acciona was at the centre of his conviction. With such big money involved it is surely time to have a clear, transparent tendering and contracting process in place.