RESIDENTS put in huge efforts to spruce up open land behind their flats, planting a rockery, installing seating and persuading dog owners to put their pets’ deposits in specially-provided bins.
But the transformation of the back green at Piershill Squares East and West has hit a major obstacle – no-one can get the council to come and empty the bins of dog poo.
Instead, volunteers have to go around with a wheelbarrow every few weeks to collect the waste and find a nearby landfill bin to put it in.
Now the council is being urged to step up and match the residents’ commitment to keeping the area clean.
Clare Devlin, who has lived there for 13 years, set up the Piershill Back Green Association two years ago to improve the land behind their flats.
“It was just a huge green space where the council came and cut the grass, but it was just unused land covered in dog mess.”
The association has won lottery funding which paid for a rockery, planted borders and a bench and a council grant for a shed for their gardening equipment.
Association secretary Delena Rudkin said: “This is public land which we have been trying to make into a garden. We’ve had four bins out there for dog mess – and it has been a great success, they are being used and it has improved the place a great deal. All we are asking for is a monthly collection. But we have been passed from pillar to post – yes it might be possible, no it’s not.”
Last week the residents were e-mailed by a council official, saying the waste services department would not pick up bins used exclusively or mainly for dog waste and ideally dog owners should place their dog waste in the communal bins at the front of the square.
But Ms Devlin said: “We know from experience that if the bins are not there, people don’t pick up the dog waste, so asking them to take it to bins elsewhere is not going to work.”
She said other parks nearby – Baron’s Court, Figgate and Lochend – all had bins provided and emptied by the council.
Craigentinny/Duddingston Conservative councillor John McLellan praised the efforts of the Piershill residents and called for the council to find a way to help.
He said: “The residents are working really hard to make it nice and it has got super potential. They have successfully improved the way the dog owners behaved.
“There’s not so much dog mess in the back green – now they just need someone to empty the bins. It can’t be beyond the council’s capability to arrange for these bins to be emptied – but it appears to be a problem. How difficult can this really be?”
Environment convener Lesley Macinnes said: “We appreciate the hard work of Piershill Square residents to transform their back green over recent years.
“While the bins that have been put in place aren’t appropriate for the waste collection and street cleansing routes we carry out across the city, we will be making contact with the group to look into ways we can support them in maintaining the quality of the area.”