A Douglas MHK has put the unpopularity of the borough council’s bin collection policy down to a lack of engagement with residents.
David Ashford was speaking at a meeting held this week to discuss the cut in bin services across the capital.
The meeting was held at the Legion Hall in Douglas and was chaired by Captain Stephen Carter, chairman of the parish of Lonan.
The evening began with council leader Clare Wells outlining the reasons behind the move to fortnightly bin collections, namely to boost recycling.
She admitted that some money was being saved through the policy, but blamed the media for promoting the suggestion that was of primary concern.
Mrs Wells spoke for more than 20 minutes at the start of the meeting, tracing the policy’s routes back to 2008 when kerbside collections were first introduced.
Addressing concerns raised that the fortnightly collections had led to an increase in litter across the capital and complaints that people were unable to cut their waste to fit into their bins, Mrs Wells said that this meant people weren’t using the scheme properly either because they can’t or wouldn’t.
She added that for those who can’t cut their waste, which could be for a variety of reasons including having a large family or because of a need to bin medical supplies, the council is and has been able to work with these people.
However, this did little to appease Mr Ashford, or many of the people in attendance, including one man who accused Mrs Wells and her fellow councillors of being arrogant in enforcing their policy on residents.
The Douglas North MHK said that part of the concern was that the people felt it had been imposed on them without consultation.
Mrs Wells said that the council didn’t consult with residents because it wasn’t required to do so.
Other concerns were raised on the night by members of the public about not having adequate space for extra bins or recycling boxes, particularly for those in central Douglas who don’t have gardens, or people who live in flats.
Councillor Falk Horning said that the council had worked with management companies to ensure that flats were able to have adequate bin and recycling facilities, though this was disputed by a man who said he represented a management company which, the man said, had not been contacted by the council.
While the room was clearly largely populated by those who were not in favour of the change, a show of hands at the end of the meeting showed the discontent within the room, with a massive majority of people wanting to see the council return to weekly bin collections.
Mrs Wells for her part had earlier ruled this out, saying it was too early to say the reduction in waste collections wasn’t working and that the situation would be reviewed by the council next year.