Following a number of complaints regarding access arrangements to recycling centres in Causeway Coast and Glens area with the new booking system since recycling centres reopened to the public in light of the Coronavirus pandemic, Councillor McGurk followed up with the Director of Environmental Services to ensure access was as efficient as possible.
Speaking after discussion with Environmental Services, Cllr McGurk said “I asked the Environmental Services Director to improve the current system to ensure there are less issues when trying to book a slot including provision same day booking which I believe has been the main cause of criticism. I very much welcome the improvements that the council team have now implemented and praise should be given to the quick response to the complaints. The new online booking systems which is being rolled out should streamline the service for all users”
The online booking system which will facilitate same day booking is due to be trialled at Coleraine and Limavady’s sites this week and will be rolled out to all sites within 2 weeks from the initial trial. The council have also increased the number of slots to 4 vehicles every 10mins and that will be further increased up to 6 vehicles this week.
In the meantime, for those centres which will not have the online booking system in place the number of operators taking bookings has increased from 3 to 7 by utilising the council’s coronavirus hub.
Cllr McGurk noted, “ I appreciate there have been frustrations caused by the booking system and some have called for its removal entirely, however it is essential that we maintain it for the meantime to avoid the long queues and congestion seen in other Council areas. Recycling Centres had been closed for a number of weeks and that pent up demand saw significant increases in usage above normal levels leading to disruption to traffic, increased risk to staff, etc in other areas. It is also worth noting that since the introduction of the booking system, most council recycling centres are working to full capacity with slots being entirely filled for the following day. If this wasn’t managed correctly it would lead to peak usage times which would have the potential to overwhelm staff at the centres and cause traffic issues. Whilst this may not have been as likely a scenario in smaller recycling centres, it was important that the same approach was taken to all centres across the council area.”