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COVID-19: Council Leader says 'national emergency calls for national effort' to protect the capital in crisis

Council Leader Councillor David Christian MBE JP has said that the COVID-19 national emergency calls for a national effort to protect the capital in crisis as emergency legislation suspends a raft of Council-delivered services.


Councillor Christian made his comment after the Council had recorded an increase in incidences of fly-tipping, dog fouling and misuse of green spaces for dog exercising.


He said: ‘We’re facing a national emergency and a national effort is the only way we’re going to get through this.


‘The coronavirus pandemic is presenting us with the greatest health challenges our capital and our Island has ever faced. It is the duty of everyone – not just the Council’s workforce – to protect the environment and our local amenities for when this terrible time is over and we return to some form of “normal” again.


‘We recognise that people need to walk their dogs – which is why we relaxed the dog-exercising restrictions on Douglas beach - but owners must be responsible and pick up after their pets.


‘All the while Douglas golf course is closed for play, it’s open for exercise. I would, however, ask people to consider our hard-working green-keeping team and use this prized green space sensibly; keep to the footpaths, don’t let your dog onto the greens or dig up the turf and, as always, pick up after your dog. At a time when people are confined, we want to keep the golf course open for exercise but at the same time we need to protect it from damage and maintain it in readiness for when it can be reopened. And if people don’t heed the Council’s request, then there’s a very real possibility that we may have to close the course completely.’


Turning to increases in fly-tipping Councillor Christian said: ‘I’m urging everyone to work with us and not to fly-tip their waste. This is antisocial behaviour that poses a public health risk at the best of times, all the more so while the coronavirus threatens the safety of every one of us. We know it’s hugely frustrating that the civic amenity sites are closed but we urge people to consider the pressure our waste services team are already under and the risks to which they could be exposed, so I would ask householders to keep hold of their waste until it can be disposed of responsibly.’


Councillor Christian continued: ‘Even in these extraordinary times the Council remains forward-looking and has formulated a plan for when government permits civic amenity sites to be re-opened and the resumption of our Ballacottier recycling operation. We’ll then alert householders as soon as possible and help them to dispose of their accumulated waste.


‘To halt the spread of COVID-19 requires a huge collective effort and the Council is having to make difficult decisions and place exceptional demands on both its workforce and on the people of Douglas. At this time of national crisis it’s up to everyone to embrace a sense of community responsibility and cooperative spirit because now, more than ever before, we truly are all in this together.’