Minister: Garbage Collection, Tynes Bay Facility

October 20, 2017 | 11 Comments

There are regularly as few as 8 garbage collection trucks serviceable out of a fleet of 19, an initial wave of recruitment of 5 laborers is currently in train, and the Tynes Bay Public Drop Off Facility will start opening at 7.00am on weekdays.

This is according to Minister of Public Works Lt/Col David Burch who provided an overview of the Tynes Bay Waste to Energy Facility and Waste Management in the House of Assembly today [Oct 20].

Minister Burch said, “There is a need to make an ultimate decision on the future of the Tynes Bay Waste to Energy Facility for the construction of a third stream or a further refurbishment, either of which need to take place within the next 3 years in order for the plant to remain reliable. We are commissioning a study to do an analysis of timelines, options, and of course cost to explore which is more beneficial in the long term.

“We are currently short 4 operator positions due to attrition and staff leaving generally for higher compensation, as one reason. Plans are afoot to launch both a new cohort of Bermudian trainees next year [in conjunction with work force development] as well as the recruitment of 4 overseas power engineers to fill gaps while this training occurs.

“We lose staff to Belco more and more as our compensation mechanisms fail to keep up with the competition. Gaining more flexibility by becoming a quango may be a solution as current government compensation grading does not take into account risk management, which is a high contributing factor to persons not wanting to stay and progress through the ranks.

“All options are on the table to secure and retain qualified Bermudian talent and we shall aggressively explore those options without apology.

“Garbage collection continues to be a challenge with both shortages of equipment and personnel. Regularly we have as few as 8 trucks serviceable out of a fleet of 19 – with maintenance and a shortage of parts being major factors.

“A study is progressing on reviewing zones, a possible transfer station, the number and type of trucks and of course the appropriate level of staffing. An initial wave of recruitment of 5 laborers is currently in train.

“The overtime budget has been exhausted and we will look elsewhere within the ministry to supplement this in order to keep on top of collection schedules.

“Like many things we have found Mr. Speaker, the budget was arbitrarily reduced last cycle from the requested amount and no consideration of the reality of the situation was planned for.

“Limited trucks and personnel both combine to create the need for ongoing overtime. Adding new staff, new trucks to the fleet and enhanced operating procedures will eventually lead to a significant reduction in the amount of overtime.

The Minister said he is also pleased to announce changes to the operating hours of the Tynes Bay Public Drop Off Facility, saying that in 2013 the operating hours were reduced as part of cost savings measures.

“Through collaborative efforts with the operating contractor and ministry staff, we are able to extend the weekday hours of the facility, which was a constant request by many members of the public,” Minister Burch said.

“Effective November 1st 2017 the weekday operating hours will change from the current hours of 9am to 6pm to 7am to 6pm, allowing residents to more easily dispose of garbage before heading to work,” the Minister said. “All other hours of operation will remain the same.

“I’m also pleased to report that through the application of monies already owed to government that the extended weekday hours comes at no additional cash expenditure.”

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker, I am gradually visiting the satellite locations of the various departments that comprise the Ministry of Public Works – to date I have had the opportunity to meet with the various Department Heads and have visited and met with front line staff at Ministry Headquarters, Public Lands & Buildings, Works & Engineering, the Marsh Folly Depot – comprising, waste management, highways, disposal section and Parks.

As well Mr. Speaker, I have had the opportunity to visit the Departments of Land Valuation, Land Title Registration, BHC, BLDC and Wedco. There are still several areas to visit including the Quarry, Tynes Bay, Botanical Gardens, Sally Port Depot, Tulo Valley, the Water Section and the Prospect Depot.

Tynes Bay Waste to Energy Facility and Waste Management

Those visits will continue over the next few weeks but specifically I rise this morning to report briefly on two areas – Tynes Bay Waste to Energy Facility and Waste Management.

Mr. Speaker, there is a need to make an ultimate decision on the future of the Tynes Bay Waste to Energy Facility for the construction of a third stream or a further refurbishment, either of which need to take place within the next 3 years in order for the plant to remain reliable.

We are commissioning a study to do an analysis of timelines, options, and of course cost to explore which is more beneficial in the long term. The costs are significant for either option along with the likely requirement for extensive space for baled garbage for an extended period during construction.

Concurrently, Mr. Speaker, the restructuring of the operations and management section is currently under way to create more efficiency and clarity of responsibilities. Focusing on plant competency for the operations team to raise the bar on good practices.

Short 4 Operator Positions

We are currently short 4 operator positions due to attrition and staff leaving generally for higher compensation, as one reason. Plans are afoot to launch both a new cohort of Bermudian trainees next year [in conjunction with work force development] as well as the recruitment of 4 overseas power engineers to fill gaps while this training occurs.

Mr. Speaker, we lose staff to Belco more and more as our compensation mechanisms fail to keep up with the competition. Gaining more flexibility by becoming a quango may be a solution as current government compensation grading does not take into account risk management, which is a high contributing factor to persons not wanting to stay and progress through the ranks.

Mr. Speaker, all options are on the table to secure and retain qualified Bermudian talent and we shall aggressively explore those options without apology.

As Few As 8 Trucks Serviceable Out Of Fleet Of 19

Mr. Speaker, garbage collection continues to be a challenge with both shortages of equipment and personnel. Regularly we have as few as 8 trucks serviceable out of a fleet of 19 – with maintenance and a shortage of parts being major factors.

Recruitment Of 5 Laborers

A study is progressing on reviewing zones, a possible transfer station, the number and type of trucks and of course the appropriate level of staffing. An initial wave of recruitment of 5 laborers is currently in train.

Overtime

The overtime budget has been exhausted and we will look elsewhere within the ministry to supplement this in order to keep on top of collection schedules. Like many things we have found Mr. Speaker, the budget was arbitrarily reduced last cycle from the requested amount and no consideration of the reality of the situation was planned for.

Limited trucks and personnel both combine to create the need for ongoing overtime. Adding new staff, new trucks to the fleet and enhanced operating procedures will eventually lead to a significant reduction in the amount of overtime.

Better Management Structure

Additionally, Mr. Speaker, the section is in need of a better management structure. There is a need for more environmental/safety oversight plus an operational manager to oversee the superintendents and allow the solid waste manager to focus on strategy rather than day to day operations.

The option of amalgamating this section with Tynes Bay is also being explored to provide synergy and a more comprehensive structure. The first step is to action the recommendation for a staff appointment to begin this process. Of course all these options are geared towards improved efficiency and reduced costs.

Tynes Bay Drop Off To Open Earlier

To assist those hard working staff in the waste management section – I am pleased to announce changes soon to take place with regard to the operating hours of the Tynes Bay Public Drop Off Facility.

This facility is a free service provided to residents for the disposal of household waste items including bulky and special waste. In 2013 the operating hours were reduced as part of cost savings measures.

Through collaborative efforts with the operating contractor and ministry staff, we are able to extend the weekday hours of the facility, which was a constant request by many members of the public.

Effective November 1st 2017 the weekday operating hours will change from the current hours of 9am to 6pm to 7am to 6pm, allowing residents to more easily dispose of garbage before heading to work.

All other hours of operation will remain the same. These include Saturdays from 7am to 7pm, Sundays from 1pm to 6pm and on public holidays from 9am to 12 noon, exclusive of Christmas day, where the facility will remain closed.

I’m also pleased to report that through the application of monies already owed to government that the extended weekday hours comes at no additional cash expenditure.

This is an excellent example of how the public and private sectors can work collaboratively together, using creative solutions to provide better levels of service to the public without further impacting the public purse.

Additionally, Mr. Speaker, I have had several requests from members of the public to reinstitute the bulk waste collection service for large household items – we are exploring ways in which we can implement a version of this in the most cost effective manner

We Should All Reduce Waste

Mr. Speaker, the bottom line is that, as a country concerned about our environment, we all must make a greater effort to reduce the incredible amount of waste we produce. The greatest motivator I suspect is the cost to each and every tax payer – reduce waste equates to less taxation – don’t reduce waste likely leads to greater taxation.

Thanks Staff

Mr. Speaker, let me close by paying tribute to staff at Tynes Bay and especially our sanitation workers all of whom do and continue to do an outstanding job under some of the most trying circumstances.

Honourable members could give a thought to those hard working sanitation workers – not just when your garbage is collected late but give thanks when it is collected and on occasion – express that thanks directly to them.

Mr. Speaker, needless to say I shall report further on other areas of the Ministry over the next several weeks.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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Comments (11)

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  1. fluffy says:

    “budget was arbitrarily reduced last cycle from the requested amount and no consideration of the reality of the situation was planned for”

    The budget wasn’t arbitrarily reduced – the budget must align with revenue. That’s the reality that counts I’m afraid.

  2. Bobby Jones says:

    I find it interesting that only 8 trucks out of 19 are regularly working. Are there crews for other 11 trucks? if so or even if there are only, say even only 5 crews, what are they doing when they do not have trucks.

    This seems to be the same problem with the Busses, Ferrys and Ag & Fish.

    Seems to me that the problem is that either there are not enough mechanics or not qualified or just lazy.

    • Keen Observer says:

      You hit the nail on the head! This ‘cancer’ affects multiple departments through government. Trucks on the road that have work orders but not properly fixed. Parts always an issue. The management needs to improve greatly to. To much tolerance of inefficiency. We are all taxpayers, we need to keep this in mind when we work, working by the hour, not having the attitude that we show up for work to only do a certain amount of work for the day and no more. This is detrimental to our country. This has been going on for years. The effects are being seen more and more.

  3. Joonya says:

    PRI-VA-TISE!

  4. really says:

    An article on 5th November 2012 had Mr Weeks on a garbage truck. the article was the PLP reporting a purchase of 8 garbage trucks at a cost of over a $million…..that brought the fleet up to 19.

    Something smells fishy and it isn’t the garbage.

  5. aboogiewitdahoodie says:

    everythin breaking down smh

  6. Truth is killin’ me... says:

    I’m tired of paying taxes. How about that!

  7. Ringmaster says:

    We don’t care what you think Minister, fix the problem. That’s your job.

  8. Zevon says:

    “I’m also pleased to report that through the application of monies already owed to government that the extended weekday hours comes at no additional cash expenditure“
    Makes no sense at all. It’s like saying ‘I went on a trip to Vegas, but because someone owes me some money it didn’t cost me anything”. PLP fake finance.

  9. Real Deal says:

    PLP We also need to find a way to recycle sewage.

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