MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis City Council sided with the people Tuesday and said 'no' to a proposed relocation of a Whitehaven garbage facility.
Whitehaven residents want the smell of garbage gone from their neighborhood, and they want the rodents and noise moved far away. Waste Connection, eho operates the current site, promised to do that if they were allowed to relocate.
The only problem: the people who live near the trash aren't buying it. It's a decision that all came down to trust.
Whitehaven residents refused to change their minds about Waste Connections, even though the company promised to improve the area if residents went along with a plan to expand.
"We are not stupid," Whitehaven resident Rita Davis said. "Don't play us like we don't know what’s going on over there. You've never listened to us, and we still have a voice."
Waste Connections moved to Whitehaven in 1999. Davis said they’ve never listened to residents' complaints before.
"I can look into the garbage," Davis said.
Many residents said their neighborhood stinks and is overrun with critters.
"Roaches, rats, snakes, the smell is unbelievable," Patricia Snell said.
Not to mention, residents think harmful toxins in the air are making people sick, and many people have already died from cancer.
"I am fighting cancer right now," Snell said.
In their eyes, the company had time to gain trust with the community by making improvements earlier but didn't budge until they wanted something for themselves. That something is permission from the city council to expand operations there.
"If you look at all the concerns the neighbors had, they were addressed in the plan development," Waste Connections representative Adrian Bond said.
Waste Connections said expanding the Whitehaven location gives the space needed to address neighbors concerns.
If allowed to move forward with new development, they'd cut out the noise of the trucks, bring in odor control and work on the rat infestation that residents keep complaining about. They also told residents they would move trash away from houses.
"Your conditions in your community will stay the same if we vote no," City Council member Berlin Boyd said.
All but one council member voted 'no' on the expansion, the votes neighbors wanted.
"I'm going to cast the vote the way you want, but I think it is the wrong vote for you," Council member Sherman Greer said.
Council member Worth Morgan was the sole member to cast a 'yes' vote.