Monday, 9 July 2012

Today is the first day of green wheelie bin collections under the new regime – which forbids us putting garden waste in them with the rest of the rubbish.
This follows the start of the brown wheeled bin collections last week – and we hope that it won’t go down in local folklore as the day that the compost hit the fan.
Before we go further, let us make a few things clear …
We accept that delivering more than 7,500 new bins around a place the size of Boston Borough was never going to be easy, and we understand that things will never go perfectly. We have sympathy for the call to “bear with us” that has been issued.
We’re breaking our unwritten rule which is not to use the blog to highlight things that affect us specifically – because we believe that the problems we have suffered have been replicated time and again across the borough.
Our bins were ordered (and paid for) in the last week of April – but not scheduled for delivery until the first week of July.
Just before that, a tag was attached to one of our old bins, telling us of a change of collection date  - from Wednesday to Monday.
From what we’ve heard since, we suspect that the tags were cheaper in bulk if they simply said gave a collection date as  Monday - regardless of when it was really to be scheduled - as the same information was given to many others.
In the meantime, we patiently waited for our cash investment with Boston Borough Council to turn into a bin. By the deadline day for deliveries, nothing had been received, and as none of our questions could be dealt with on the borough website, we rang to ask.
By this point, many others were clearly of the same mind, as the council’s website was telling us: “An exceptional increase in telephone calls to Boston Borough Council ahead of the launch of the new brown bin garden waste collection scheme has seen delays for some people trying to get through. Additional switchboard operators and systems are being used, but callers are asked to be patient. If their call is not answered in timely fashion it is not because calls are not being answered, it will be because all operators are already busy taking calls.”
We had no choice other than to ring.
Lines to Fen Road were all busy, we were told. Could we ring the direct line later?
We rang. It was engaged.
We rang again. It rang, and rang, and rang … and then an answer phone took the call.
We explained our plight and asked if someone could call us.
Some hours later, we sent an e-mail.
Still later, we sent another one to a specific officer, and eventually were told that deliveries were continuing on Saturday 30th July. We were also told that although our tag for blue and green bins nominated  Monday as the new collection day, it would, in fact, be Tuesday. Our garden waste would be collected on Thursday.
Just in case, we left our blue bin out on Sunday night, and although it was not emptied on Monday as the tag had indicated, it was on the following day.
Our brown bin, meanwhile, did not arrive on Saturday, but was left in the front garden at half past seven on Monday morning.
Some hours later, we received a call from Fen Road in response to our answer phone message left on Friday morning, which gave us the chance to ask a few more questions.
We never did receive a reply to our e-mail.
Between ordering the bin in April and the first collection date our garden had been doing what gardens do … growing.
So there was plenty of waste with which to christen our new bin.
Out it went on Wednesday night … and in it came – still full – on Thursday night.
We e-mailed again.
“The lads” would make a special visit on Friday, we were promised.
Out when the bin on Friday morning … and in it came – unemptied – on Friday night.
We have now given up.
We read in the local newspaper about bins in the London Road area being tagged with the wrong collection date, and the impression was that this was a one-off – but our bins are on the opposite side of town, and we are certainly not alone.
A nearby shopkeeper had his bin tagged to say that collections were changing from Wednesday to Monday. The collection day turned out to be Thursday.
Someone else we know ordered a brown bin and was told it would take a month to deliver.
Asked what she should do with her garden waste in the meantime, she received this advice:
Put it in the green bin as before. If the lads know that you’ve ordered a brown bin they’ll still take it away.
We note with a frisson of terror that among its few duties these days, Boston Borough Council has a responsibility for emergency planning – and that one of its tasks is to provide sandbags in the event of flood emergencies.
In the wake of the wheelie bin problems – and given the appalling weather recently -  perhaps it might be worth reviewing these plans to see if they will work as smoothly in reality as they do on paper.
Unlike the new refuse collection plans.
We'd hate to see our homes flooded because it was discovered  - too late of course - that weevils had eaten all the sandbags!

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1 comment:

  1. Scouter 41July 09, 2012

    Our bins were ordered (and paid for) in the last week of April – but not scheduled for delivery until the first week of July.

    You should try living in Africa - you would still be waiting for them, this time next year. Boston does get things done eventually - but dear God, Worst Street can be sooooo very frustrating through their sheer incompetence!