Waste Pro pickup problems persist in Cape Coral

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Trash along the side of the road in Cape Coral. (Credit: WINK News)

It is a new year, but there are the same trash troubles in Southwest Florida’s largest city. One leader is warning that the problem might get worse before it gets better.

The City of Cape Coral is not happy with Waste Pro’s performance.

It comes after the company said it was dealing with more staffing issues.

The city does not have a plan to solve the problem yet, but now they’re making sure there is a plan b.

The word that was used a lot during Wednesday night’s Cape Coral City Council meeting: proactive. Everyone on the council wants to be proactive, so the trash pile-up doesn’t get as bad as a few months ago.

The only problem is they’re in a contract with Waste Pro until 2027, and the contract states they can’t work with any other vendors.

Despite that, the entire council agreed that it’s time to look into that option because Waste Pro isn’t fulfilling their end of the contractual agreement.

Councilmember Dan Sheppard said in the meeting he’s followed the trucks, talked to the drivers and even watched them skip over houses on one street.

“I would walk over and talk to them and say why’d you skip them six houses? And I’ve had all kinds of answers in the past year. I’ve had you know, I want to go home. I want to get the route done. If I skip a bunch of houses the route’s done faster.” Sheppard said, “I don’t believe the company really cares and they’re about making money and I haven’t seen them implement anything to fix the problem.”

So is there a short-term fix to the problem? The city manager said that it is going to be pretty hard to pull off.

He said it might get worse before it gets better. He mentioned there are no other vendors in the area with a big enough fleet of trucks to take on Cape Coral.

Cape Coral Mayor John Gunter isn’t accepting that as an answer. “Not having a plan for the short term is unacceptable. I think we need to look, see if there is other vendors out there. I think we need to find out what we need to do to make sure the service is held at that level, and if they can’t provide that service, we have to have a plan b in place.”

The city manager says he now has four things to do on his checklist:

  1. Consult with the city attorney and find out exactly how binding this contract is.
  2. Talk to Waste Pro and make sure they know they contractually have a job to do.
  3. Figure out what plan b is.
  4. Look at what resources the city has immediately to help with trash pickup.

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