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Kicking up a stink

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By Euan Maxwell
Kicking up a stink

RESIDENTS across the region have been left seething after the council announced at the last minute that waste bins won’t be collected today and Monday due to the public holidays.

This means that some households will have a month’s worth of rubbish in their general non-recycling bins by the time of the next scheduled uplift on Friday April 21 or Monday April 24 respectively. The council also stressed it would be unable to collect additional side waste on these dates.

For the blue and red recycling bins affected, the next scheduled pick-up will be Friday May 5 or Monday May 8 but the latter may be subject to change as that date is also a bank holiday.

Meanwhile, food waste bins will be collected on Friday April 14 and Monday April 17.

Breaking the news, a council spokesman said: “We appreciate that informing you of these changes at this stage, so close to your collection day, is late in the day, please be assured that all avenues have been explored in relation to the collections before releasing this information.”

After posting the information on social media, the council were slammed by hundreds of concerned people across the region

Ros Martin, from Dumfries, said: “I sincerely hope you are going to get something sorted. Public holidays in certain services can not just be given off.

“The general waste bin is my biggest concern. The smell and the overspill will attract rats, seagulls and God knows what else. So if you think this is really acceptable, enjoy your weekend off.”

VJ Parker added: “Expecting people to wait four-to-six weeks for a bin to be emptied and refusing to lift extra rubbish at that time is an absolute joke.”

Pamela Dawson said: “Not sure why the council can’t do bank holidays in the same way the NHS does, or many other employers do. “The staff work on rotation basis on bank holidays and get paid extra time and a day in lieu.

“Council tax has risen for a service we won’t be receiving, would we pay for other services we didn’t receive? Absolutely not.

“Another example of the council’s poor planning. Utter disgraceful.”

Paula Gillespie said: “This is completely unacceptable. Did you simply forget the bank holiday dates?

“Surely some planning could have seen these bins emptied on another day! But no, let’s just let the waste bins overflow and bury our heads in the sand.”

Others have criticised the timing, with Euan McMorran stating it should’ve been posted two weeks ago so “folk aren’t waiting four weeks on a general waste collection”.

Councillors have also blasted the sudden news with Linda Dorward demanding the issue to be “urgently” addressed.

She said: “Historically, DGC has always managed to carry out bin collections over public holidays.

“Due to this administration’s inability to resolve this matter, some of our residents will have no bin collections for up to two months with no contingencies in place to address matters; this is not acceptable.

“The Labour group calls on the leader of the council to urgently address and resolve this issue, or at the very least put contingencies in place.

“Public holidays are not exactly new. Our residents deserve better.”

Leader of the council Gail MacGregor said: “I’m sorry this information has only been released this afternoon at very short notice but that was due to ongoing discussions with the unions, in hope of a resolution.

“Waste operatives, along with all staff, do absolutely deserve their public holidays and time with families.

“However, the normal practice (as was the case at Christmas/New Year) of overtime or a commitment to uplift in subsequent days has been declined by the unions.

“We have asked if additional bags can be left next to bins for future dates but under current contractual arrangements the operatives are under no obligation to uplift and so far have indicated they won’t.

“I appreciate the inconvenience this will cause for many households.”

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