On the verge of oblivion

These treasures like one ugg boot and a bit of old pipe may never be seen again.

THE hard waste currently gracing Vincent’s verges may be the last.

Vincent council this week considered options to replace the annual roadside rubbish collection, with the quality of scavengable waste steadily dropping in recent years: Gumtree, Facebook marketplace and “Buy Nothing” groups have made decorating your house from roadside treasures a distant memory.

Mayor Emma Cole told the Voice 85 per cent of what’s left on the road ends up in landfill. The council’s garbage strategy calls for zero waste to landfill by 2028. 

The council’s been considering a replacement for the annual pickup since a motion by Cr Josh Topelberg last year.

Junk-strewn

At this week’s council meeting he said it was timely they were considering their next step while verges were junk-strewn, highlighting “some of the poor outcomes of the current system”. 

“I bumped into a real estate agent on Sunday who’d just come from a home open, and had someone who made a comment to them that they felt they were ‘in the Bronx’ when they came to visit” due to all the verge leavings.

He said this week’s rain ruined many items that might have be salvageable, while outsiders were jumping council borders to dump their loads.

In March a council “Community Engagement Panel” mulled over five main options and many variations.

The panel narrowed it down to three, with a couple variations:

• Continue the current $210,000pa system which results in 691 tonnes of garbage on verges;

• Give residents an on-request skip bin once a year, which is predicted to lead to people throwing out less (an estimate of 408 tonnes a year if it’s a charged service, or  673 tonnes if it’s free). It’s the most expensive option: $255,000 a year if they cover some costs with a fee, or $421,000 if it’s free; or,

  An annual by-request pickup of up to two cubic metres of waste. It’s estimated to lead to locals throwing out only 200 tonnes a year if they have to pay for it, or 329 tonnes if it’s free. Also the cheapest option for the council ($72,000 if they charge, $119,000 if it’s free).

Wider community consultation on those options is scheduled for August, with council to decide in September, and the new system ready for July 2021. 

“We have in the past experienced very disparate views, with some people being incredibly passionate about the survival of the bulk rubbish collection,” Ms Cole said.

She said she got a text message from someone wanting to meet up with her and tell her about how verge collection time had been a community-building exercise for their street.

Cr Topelberg said “the option of ‘do nothing’ or ‘continue as is’ is a non-option in my personal view. Piles of junk and dangerous goods on verges is no longer an acceptable outcome.”

BY DAVID BELL

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