COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN
Whitney Hodgins returned to the tree she'd locked her bicycle to only to find it removed by a private waste company.
A Brandon University student has locked horns with a Brandon garbage removal company after she says her bike ended up in the trash.
Whitney Hodgins, 20, says she left her bike chained to a large tree behind her apartment building on the night of May 21. The next morning, she said the garbage truck driver cut the chain and threw the bicycle into the garbage truck.
"It was tied behind the tree, not right beside the garbage bins," Hodgins said. "I never thought to be concerned of the garbage truck."
She found out from the city that it was not responsible as her garbage is picked up by Overland Waste & Recycle.
The commercial contractor collects garbage from all Brandon multiplexes with seven or more apartments. These types of buildings have larger steel containers rather than the small carts used at individual households.
"We flatly deny the incident ever happened," Overland Waste & Recycling owner Grant Burton said. "If there is garbage laying around the bin, the driver will take it, but other than that we just dump the bins."
Hodgins said that when she called Overland and explained her situation, "their response was very unprofessional and rude."
She said the person she talked to called her inappropriate names that included curse words before hanging up on her.
That, too, didn’t sit right with Overland’s owner.
"I am not aware of a phone call from Hodgins herself," Burton said.
Hodgins then contacted the city, but was told it has no jurisdiction over private contractors. However, she was advised to report the bike as being stolen.
"I did make a report and have the report number," Hodgins said. "But the police told me it was not a crime, it was a civil matter because it was trash."
Other residents of the apartment complex keep bikes on their balconies. However, Hodgins said she suffered a back injury in 2010. After attempting to carry her bike up three flights of stairs, she contacted her landlord about whether it could be kept locked up outside.
"My landlord said it would be fine as long as it was tied up," Hodgins said. "Now she says maybe I should take better care of my stuff."
The student said she has little hope of getting her bicycle back, but that is no longer her concern.
"At this point, I really just want an apology," Hodgins said. "They acted rude and extremely unprofessional, that is not all right."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 31, 2014