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Weekly collection of garbage to continue

Vehicle issues: Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, Minister of Public Works, listed problems with the island's trash truck fleet(File photograph)

Garbage will be collected on a weekly basis until at least the end of the year, the Minister of Public Works said yesterday.

Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch said the new collection schedule would become permanent if it was up to him.

He said: “That is where I am leaning, but I don’t want to make the decision on my own.

“I am required to get my Cabinet colleagues, in particular, and our entire caucus to buy into this because they’re going to be the ones basically selling it to folk.”

The announcement came at a press conference held at the Tynes Bay Waste Treatment Facility.

Colonel Burch said that overtime expenses for trash collection had been “significantly less” than the annual budget and that $25,000 had been spent on overtime in the past three months.

Roughly $1 million is budgeted annually — $70,000 a month — for overtime wages.

Colonel Burch said that there had also been savings in fuel, vehicle wear and tear, and worker illness and injuries.

He added: “Not surprisingly, staff morale has improved.”

Colonel Burch said that “virtually” the same amount of trash was being collected with the once-a-week schedule as during last year’s twice-a-week pickups.

He said that there had also been a “steady increase” in public usage of the Tynes Bay facility.

Colonel Burch added: “I have asked the plant manager to explore with the operator the feasibility of further extending the hours to make it even more convenient to members of the public.”

He said that staff were “adequately coping” with the new schedule despite the limited number of trash trucks.

He said that on average eight trucks were in service daily.

Colonel Burch said: “The reality is we cannot contemplate a return to twice-a-week collection any time soon with the limited vehicles available, so once-a-week collection will continue until at least year end.”

Colonel Burch added: “We will not be hiring additional staff at this time.”

He said that five new trash trucks were expected to arrive in Bermuda in November.

Colonel Burch added: “I must caution, though, that even with the five new trucks, we will still not be at a full complement of vehicles as many of the trucks currently in the fleet have surpassed their life expectancy.”

He also used the press conference to announce adjustments to the collection schedule.

For the Monday collection, the easternmost boundary will move from Church Road to the Waterlot Inn on Middle Road, to Sinky Bay on South Shore Road.

The Tuesday collection will include from Cobbs Hill to Chapel Road, Ess Hill to Southcote Road.

Trimingham Hill to Tee Street will be collected on Wednesday.

On Thursday, garbage will be picked up from Tee Street to Devil’s Hole.

The Friday collection zone will remain unchanged.

Colonel Burch thanked waste management workers for doing an “outstanding job”.

He added: “I encourage members of the public to give a thought and even express thanks to those workers who so efficiently collect our garbage every week.”

A ten-week trial period for once-a-week collection was announced in February. It was extended in April and scheduled to end this week.