‘Don’t treat us like garbage’

“Don’t treat us like garbage”: Stirling Street business owners including Compton Burgers, Camera Electronics and Ammo Marketing’s Cam Sinclair (right). Photo by David Bell.

Traders petition to keep bin service

BUSINESS owners are petitioning Vincent council not to abandon its commercial rubbish collection.

A rapidly-filling petition titled “Don’t treat us like garbage” asks the council to rescind its September 2020 decision to cease collecting business bins by mid 2021.

By law councils are only required to pick up residential bins, and some like Joondalup and Wanneroo already make businesses seek out private bin collectors.

Vincent said the transition to the three- bin FOGO system partly motivated the move to a privatised collection. Some kerbs are already cluttered with business bins and a third would make it worse, while commercial services can offer something bigger than wheelie bins and pick up on-premises rather than just roadside.

Lead petitioner Cam Sinclair from Stirling Street’s Ammo Marketing is fuming. He said the council made the call before consulting businesses.

“The only community consultation our businesses have seen was a single letter from the council telling us our bins will be taken away,” Mr Sinclair said.

“There has been no feedback sought whatsoever. The change has been imposed on us at short notice.

He says if the council can’t continue its own bin service, he’d like to see them negotiate a collective deal with a contractor on behalf of local businesses.

Not collecting the bins will save the council $920,000 a year. Currently businesses get that back in a $520 rebate, but after this financial year that will be at the discretion of future councils.

“After 2022, City of Vincent will still charge $520 extra on its rates every year for a service it no longer provides,” Mr Sinclair’s petition says.

Landfill target

Vincent’s also dumping its commercial service to meet a target it set itself of stopping all rubbish going to landfill by 2028. The state government’s mandated target for councils still allows 15 per cent of waste heading to landfill by 2030.

Commercial recycling bins are more likely to be contaminated with other junk and can’t be recycled, making Vincent’s target difficult to achieve.

Mr Sinclair says that’s simply rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic; it won’t reduce landfill, only take it off the council’s books. With a private collector, businesses could even opt out of recycling altogether.
The petition’s planned go to the council AGM on February 2.

We asked Vincent council if keeping the service could be considered.

Mayor Emma Cole says if the council revoked its decision, it would be unfair on businesses who’d done the right thing and already organised alternatives.

“Some businesses have realised the advantages of using an external provider and have made the transition early.

“All business owners were notified of the change in September and city staff have been visiting businesses to provide support and mark bins in preparation for removal.”

Ms Cole says Vincent’s bin service was “highly unusual” as most larger councils had tailored commercial waste services.

“The City of Vincent is a relatively small local government and we don’t have the capacity to provide this tailored approach without major financial investment. There is no guarantee we could compete with the commercial market.”

by DAVID BELL

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