Shire should pick up landfill bins weekly
THE Twittersphere went into meltdown last week when residents, business owners and holiday home owners in Bass Coast realised the shire would not be picking up their garbage.
Prue Jolly captured the thoughts of many when she posted on the Sentinel-Times’ Facebook page:
“We are in Cape Woolamai and all our bins are full to the brim! It needs to be a weekly empty for all bins during peak season! I have seen so many locals using the public bins near beaches because their bins are also full! Just wait, our beaches will be covered in litter because of this. What is the council going to do about it????”
The criticism has especially raucous in the coastal towns of San Remo, Cape Paterson and Inverloch (Zone 2) where over-stuffed, red-top Christmas bins will have been left standing for the best part of two weeks, with no collections in those towns between Christmas and New Year.
And it didn’t help that vandals up-ended full bins down the length of Dixon Street during the busiest holiday week of the year.
Although not getting picked up after the Christmas festivities is the worst possible scenario for many families, those living in the Zone 1 towns of Cape Woolamai, Smiths Beach, Sunset Strip, Pioneer Bay and Cowes will be next to feel the pain when the shire doesn’t pick them up until the second week of January.
In South Gippsland Shire has been no such problems. The shire there picks up the ‘waste to landfill’ bins every week and alternates green and recycling.
That’s the way to go, say many.
For the President of the Inverloch Tourism Association, the peak body for local traders, Dom Brusamarello, it was a case of I told you so.
“We spoke to the council at length two weeks out from the Christmas holidays, telling them that we expected problems, but they made it clear they would be sticking to their guns,” Mr Brusamarello said.
“They told us that homeowners would be able to dispose of 60 per cent of their waste via the recycling and green waste bins but that still leaves 40 per cent to go to landfill and with the population of Inverloch increasing by three to four times, to well over 20,000 at the peak, that’s still a lot of extra garbage.
“And I think you’ll find they did that survey based on the 240 litre landfill bin, not the piddly-little 120 litre bins we have now.
“It would only have meant an additional two landfill pick-ups over the holidays,” he said.
Mr Brusamarello said the tourism association spoke with local real estate agents who expressed concern about the lack of a weekly pick-up especially for rental properties but he preferred to leave them to comment.
Some of the property management agents have told the Sentinel-Times that they have been forced to employ contractors to empty full red-top bins, making rental accommodation ready for visitors but it has come at a cost.
Other ratepayers have been going to the extra expense of running their bins out to the transfer station at $6 a pop plus transport costs and hassle.
“We’re only into day two and three so we’ll see but it stands to reason that they’ll be significantly more general waste being generated. We’ve had a high influx of visitors and holiday home owners,” Mr Brusamarello said.
“Our concern is that for the sake of two extra pick-ups we could have avoided the situation where the experience of visitors coming to the Bass Coast is affected by this and they may think twice about visiting Inverloch next time.
“Certainly it would be an extra cost but in a tourism area, we feel it’s warranted,” he said.
Mr Brusamarello’s association wants the situation reviewed, at the very least.
But the shire is so far sticking its strategy.
Here’s a few points from the Mayor, Cr Pamela Rothfield:
• Landfill bins (with the red lid) are still a fortnightly collection as audits from last Christmas holidays showed 69 per cent of this waste was organics. With the introduction of the new weekly organics bin (green lid), the audit indicated that a fortnightly general waste collection would be adequate.
• Public place bins in Cowes and Inverloch are being serviced daily throughout the summer season.
• Holiday homes often require additional waste management as part of their business model. As with any business, some overhead costs need to be managed by the owner/operator and waste management is one of these services. Council are able to provide additional waste services to such properties on a long-term basis however, we recommend that holiday home owners work with commercial providers for short term waste management issues. It’s the responsibility of any home owner (holiday or permanent) to ensure their property is maintained in a manner that prevents a negative impact on their neighbours’ amenity.
“The amount of organic waste that is now being diverted away from landfill is staggering,” Cr Rothfield said.
“The latest figures across Bass Coast Shire show an average of 80% of general waste is now going to organics to be turned into compost. Before we introduced the 3-bin system, this was around the 35% mark.
“Taking a step back to look at the bigger picture, it’s quite an achievement for our community and we clearly know how to separate out the organic waste.
“Backing this up is a very low contamination rate, which is averaging less than 1% which something we should be really proud of.”
What ratepayers said
But the ratepayers beg to differ.
Here’s what some of them said on social media last week:
• Hailey Martin: Red bins should be taken weekly. They really get smelly when they sit there for two weeks with nappies and the green bin is horrible. The amount of flies is just terrible.
• Trish Milnes: Recycle and normal rubbish bins should be collected weekly over this period, ‘tis the Christmas holidays after all which means more rubbish, not just extra recycle.
• Gemma Stewart: Have you considered weekly landfill collection for the same four weeks? It’s only two extra collections but would make a huge difference for families and small businesses over the busy holiday season.
• Matt Anderson: So all landfill bins in Cape woolamai will be full from Xmas day until picked up on the 8th of January? Hmmmm not looking forward to that.
• Lee Reedman: Bass Coast Shire Council, you should definitely go back to weekly landfill bins being collected, the new system is a pain, family of four with a one year old in nappies, they fill a bin quick and it stinks to high heaven, the experiment failed please fix it!
• Michelle Metcalf: Wonthaggi is going to smell delightful over the Christmas period. I’m sure it will impress the tourists
There were dozens of similar sentiments.
But will it be enough to bring about a change?