City-Parish President Joey Durel is deflecting concerns over the automated trash pickup service that rolls into action in less than a week using new trucks with robotic arms. The centerpiece of the new system is once-a-week use of those blue, 96-gallon plastic “smart carts” distributed recently. In a Monday e-mail exchange obtained by The INDsider, the mayor-president hails the hardy constitution of parish residents.

Durel is responding to an e-mail from Phil Lank, former director of community development in the Dud Lastrapes administration and the city's economic development consultant to the Rebuild Lafayette North Committee from 1997 to 2005. Lank takes Lafayette Consolidated Government to task for its choice of the “big, awkward, and heavy” bins. “Goodness knows what the elderly, those with infirmities, and the handicapped are going to do,” Lank wonders, arguing that his own container is unwieldy even when empty. “Who’s going to put the garbage out for these folks if they can’t move the can?”

Eight minutes later, Durel thanks Lank for his concern, and proceeds to wave the flag of Acadiana can-do-ism: “I am of the opinion that if it works for every other community around us,” Durel writes, “it will be fine here. I cannot believe that our people are weaker, older or less able than the people in those communities. If they can do it, I have all the confidence in the world that our citizens can as well. We have heard that people often react the way you have, but later find that they prefer the new service.”

Time will tell.

LCG and Allied Waste will launch the automated pickup service with the blue “smart carts” beginning Monday. Yard and household waste will be collected on the same day once per week. Details on collection days were provided on flyers attached to the cans when they were dropped off. You can find out more on the system at the LCG Web site, or by calling 291-8529.

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