CAPE CORAL, Fla. — People that live in Cape Coral neighborhoods said Waste Pro hasn’t collected their bulk and yard trash in weeks. Many residents are upset and are left with more questions than answers.
Stacy Disney is a southeast Cape Coral resident who says her yard trash hasn't been picked up in two weeks.
"It makes our neighborhood look ugly. We take a lot of pride in our neighborhood and we don't want that," Disney said.
"Problem is it's just laying out there. You go down the road and you see old sofas, you see old beds and people just trying to get rid of everything. You see all the yard waste out there. You see it's all turning brown out there," said northwest Cape Coral resident, Thomas Fournier.
Fox 4 reached out to Waste Pro to find out why there is a delay in the yard and bulk trash pick-up.
You can read Waste Pro's statement below:
"Millions of workers across the United States in all industries are taking sick days due to the omicron variant. Our solid waste employees are working hard to perform collections but are not immune to the virus. Our local facility performing operations in Lee County and Cape Coral, FL is fully staffed but continues to be challenged daily with employees testing positive for the virus and/or quarantining due to potential exposure. These dramatic increases in time off significantly disrupt our service schedules. Waste Pro is committed to proactively finding ways to mitigate service disruptions. Our local management is monitoring this situation daily and communicates regularly with Lee County and Cape Coral. The safety and service of our communities are our number one priority. We appreciate your patience."
Fox 4 also reached out to the city of Cape Coral.
The spokesperson for the city Melissa Mickey said the city is aware of missed collections being reported for both yard waste and bulk waste items. Waste Pro is collecting these items when staff is available. Mickey said it's important for residents to note that if you take your yard waste to the bulk waste drop-off site they will accept the items.
Mickey said residents also have the option of taking their bulk waste items to the bulk waste pilot drop-off site. Also, there is a quarterly drop-off event coming up on February 5 at City Hall.
For residents who have no means of transportation, they are encouraged to report missed pick-ups to the city's 311 Call Center.
The city added Waste Pro is still experiencing staffing shortages due to COVID and yard waste and bulk waste may both take longer than normal to be collected. In order to help mitigate Waste Pro’s current staffing challenges, the city has asked the company to prioritize utilizing the majority of available staff on the collection of garbage, recycling, large bulky waste items, and then yard waste.
During Wednesday night's city council meeting, Mayor John Gunter and city council members discussed options to combat the issue residents are facing with bulk and yard trash pick-up. Mayor Gunter said if the issue persists, one possible option is to hire an outside company in the short term to pick up the trash. Mayor Gunter added he takes the issue seriously and wants the residents to know he is taking their concerns.
Council members will meet again in two weeks with a decision. In the meantime, residents are encouraged to call 311 that will help in evaluating in the magnitude of the problem and find a solution.