Catania backs business over bins

FORMER mayor Nick Catania was back in Vincent chambers this week urging the council to continue picking up business rubbish bins.

The one-time shadow police minister told the current council it would cost traders too much to switch to another collector.

Last September the council voted to cancel commercial collection as of mid-2021.

The move was sparked by the impending “FOGO” three bin system, deemed unworkable at business premises which can already have dozens of bins if they’re on the large side.

A secondary reason was the council’s plan to send zero waste to landfill by 2028, and commercial bins having higher contamination rates makes¬†that harder to reach.

Last year Vincent staff estimated most businesses would save money by going to a commercial provider, with only one of the four sample businesses presented to councillors being slightly worse off.

Small business owner Cam Sinclair told this week’s Vincent AGM that one of his fellow Stirling Street traders, Camera Electronic, had run the numbers and estimated they could end up paying $7,000 more per year to get their bins picked up.

The council is offering businesses a $520 rebate in the first year, and will consider them in future years. But Mr Catania said given “the plight, onus and burden on small businesses having to pay for collection, $520 is a meagre amount.”

He said along with the cost, the decision would mean extra trucks through Vincent’s streets as various contractors rolled through, and he said it wouldn’t even help minimise landfill waste, just the amount that Vincent council is responsible for on paper.

“You can’t stop private contractors,” from trucking the rubbish out to landfill.

“So the council doesn’t even achieve one of the ends it wanted to achieve,” Mr Catania said.

Mayor Emma Cole said it wasn’t an easy decision, but the council couldn’t afford to run a full commercial service. 

“The current commercial service is outdated, it is an add-on to our residential service” and wasn’t compatible with FOGO, with new trucks needed if they were to pick up commercial bins.

Mr Sinclair said “it does sound like you’ve made up your mind, this is going to come hell or high water,” but he moved a motion requesting the council rescind the plan and continue picking up commercial waste.

If the city couldn’t keep picking up business rubbish he asked for the roll-back to be delayed by a year to give businesses time to prepare for the transition. 

He suggested the council could “act as agent” on behalf of the city’s 2111 businesses, using its knowledge and the bargaining power to set up a good group deal rather than each business having to go it alone.

Alternatively he asked if Vincent would seek a neighbouring council to extend its collection service over the border. Perth’s garbos already service the council-run Beatty Park Leisure Centre.

The motion was carried unanimously by electors, and will appear as an item for councillors to consider at one of the next few meetings. 

by DAVID BELL

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