The city of Saskatoon is defending a recommendation to award a recycling contract to a private sector firm and released a report showing a proposal by the non-profit group Cosmopolitan Industries had a lower cost, but did not score well enough to get the job.

The report, which was written and signed on Friday, was issued as a follow-up to a recommendation going to city council on Monday to have administration officials negotiate a seven-year contract with Loraas Recycling to operate a curbside service for all homes in Saskatoon.

According to the report, Cosmo submitted a proposal that would have cost the city $21.5 million, while Loraas submitted two proposals, one at $23.2 million, the other at $22.5 million.

'They have discounted Cosmo's ability to do something it's done for 30 years.' —Peter Gerrard, Cosmo executive director

However, while the Cosmo proposal would have cost less, the city also used a point system to rate proposals.

The report said that approach would "allow proponents to consider various means and solutions to deliver the work requested."

The city said both of the Loraas proposals scored higher than Cosmo.

The rankings, released by the city, were:

  1. Loraas - combined proposal: 182 points
  2. Loraas - single-stream proposal: 180 points
  3. Cosmo - dual-system: 168 points

The Cosmo bid, the city noted, involved the non-profit agency doing the processing of materials and another company, Emterra, doing the collection work.

On Friday, officials from Cosmo repeated their concerns that the city administration's recommendation would "marginalize" people with disabilities.

"We would rather be an integral part of the recycling process in Saskatoon rather than being a marginalized group," Peter Gerrard, the executive director of the agency, said.

He noted that Cosmo has, for more than 30 years, provided recycling services as a core program for adults with intellectual disabilities.

Gerrard said the city should have considered the years of experience they offered.

"Our bid number was significantly below the affordability limit," he added. "Whatever the city has done in its evaluation process, they have discounted Cosmo's ability to do something it's done for 30 years and done very well for 30 years."

Loraas pleased

An official with Loraas said Friday the company was happy a local firm was chosen for the new recycling service in Saskatoon.

"We're very pleased," company vice-president Aaron Loraas said. "We're pleased that they've chosen a local company.  And we put a lot of thought and effort into our proposal, and we're pleased to see that the city has chosen us."

The Loraas plan would see 96-gallon carts provided to residents. The carts, which could be filled with different types of recyclables, would be picked up every two weeks.

"It's a big thing for us," Loraas added. "It's one of the bigger projects we've ever taken on, so we're certainly excited by that."