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Gardening firms protest at later opening of waste site

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AROUND a dozen gardening firms and tradesmen protested against later opening hours at the green waste site yesterday, arguing the change would affect business significantly.

Paulo Freitas, of Paolo’s Gardening Services, and other gardening firms mounted a protest at Mont Cuet yesterday, unhappy that the opening time has been pushed back to 8am. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 23296354)

The demonstration lasted for an hour to show how many companies would be impacted by changing the opening time from 7am to 8am as happened on Tuesday morning.

A letter was sent to affected businesses in September, but they received nothing since then to warn of the change which happened this week.

Guernsey Waste said the move is now under review but that additional costs for opening early may have to be met by the firms themselves.

Led by Paolo’s Gardening Services’ owner Paolo Freitas the men are unhappy about sudden change to the site’s operations, which they say will take hours away from the working day.

‘If I’ve got three drivers coming here every day they’ll be lined up, they need to go back to the yard, load up their truck with tools, they’ve got their work colleague waiting for them,’ he said.

‘By the time we go through the traffic and arrive in the yard in St Saviour’s, and by the time we’re loaded, I’m not going to be at the client’s house until 9.45am to 10am.

‘So I have to put my prices up to cover these missed hours, the client’s not going to be happy and they’ll go somewhere cheaper.

‘That’s not what we want for the island. We want people who know what they’re doing looking after private and public gardens.

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‘We need to be here [at the waste site] at 7am so we can be back with the client by 9am at the latest.

‘When I started 12 years ago things used to be much much better, Guernsey is not a good place to do business any more. A few months ago I lost £500,000 in quotes.

‘It’s not about competition, there isn’t too much competition, it’s too expensive and people are cutting down all the time,’ he said.

In September a letter was sent out to those involved about the changes, but Mr Freitas said no follow up communication was offered when they came into play.

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‘They can’t dream something up one night and put it into action the next morning, they have to speak to us, we are traders. I pay a lot of money in contributions to the States, I employ around 35 people full- time, they have to speak to us,’ he said.

Darren Hockey, owner of Darren’s Gardening Services, said he was happy to attend the protest.

‘I think it’s wrong, it’s going to cause problems. If we can’t drop off until 8am there’s going to be so many commercial vehicles on the road during the school run. I just don’t understand the decision,’ he said.

States’ Trading Assets deputy managing director Richard Evans said the changes were as a result of the opening of the waste transfer station at Longue Hougue.

‘Previously Mont Cuet was open from 6am to receive waste from overnight parish collections. However all that material will now go to the new waste transfer station.

‘Mont Cuet will continue to be used for processing green waste, and for disposal of waste that is not suitable for export, but it will no longer receive material from overnight collections.

‘The operational requirements are therefore very different and the operating hours are being revised accordingly.

‘Guernsey Waste, which operates Mont Cuet, has arranged to meet with Mr De Freitas.

‘Pending the outcome of those discussions the proposed new opening hours are under review, and the site will be open at 7am for the delivery of commercial

green waste. If that is to continue there may be additional cost involved in extending the proposed opening hours, and we will have to discuss with commercial customers, including gardening firms, how those extra costs would be met,’ he said.

Alex Warlow

By Alex Warlow
News reporter

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