Cape Coral looks to buy second grapple truck to help pick up yard waste

Published: May 4, 2021 6:47 PM EDT

Cape Coral will buy a truck to deal with its ongoing trash problem. In some parts of the city, the trash has been piling up, so the city will help to dispose of it.

The Waste Pro driver shortage continues, and that means delays picking up trash and yard waste continues too.

The city will have public works crews hauling away debris that has yet to be picked up by the trash service. This a direct response to the repeated complaints of waste lining neighborhood streets.

City workers are able to help thanks to a city-owned grapple truck. Mike Ilczyszyn, the assistant public works director, calls it his saving grace.

“The grapple truck has been the most efficient piece of equipment out there,” Ilczyszyn said.

The city is in the market to buy a second grapple truck for about $150,000.

We asked the city if this is a sign the city might dump Waste Pro and get into garbage collection full-time, and the answer is no.

“It will help the citizens in times of hurricanes and times of tornadoes, any time of need,” Ilczyszyn said. “Or we can go out, and we can mobilize to grapplers.”

Les McNally hopes the yard waste will get picked up on his street sooner than later. He’s one of many who does not want to get in the habit of putting his trash in his car and hauling it to a drop-off site.

“I had to get this trash out of here,” McNally said. “We’re snowbirds, and we’re going back up, and I couldn’t take the chance of it laying there. It was already killing the grass, and I picked up some of my neighbors too.”

“They haven’t picked up in three weeks, so we ended up getting a trailer and bring it over here,” Edward Day said.

If Cape Coral City Council approves, the city plans to use money from its stormwater fund to purchase the new truck.

In an effort to hire more drivers, Waste Pro says it is offering candidates both retention and referral bonuses plus competitive wages.