No backdown on business rubbish

TWO petitions calling on Vincent council to keep collecting business bins have failed to sway the council to overturn a decision to axe the service.

But in a small concession, micro businesses will be allowed to pay to switch over to the council’s three bin FOGO system.

In September 2020 the council decided to stop collecting commercial waste as of mid-2021, chiefly because it was thought to be too hard to run the incoming three-bin FOGO system for businesses.

It’s also more expensive dealing with business waste, as it’s heavier on non-recyclable material and a lot ends up in landfill.

The council’s lack of consultation ahead of making the call has caused a lot of discontent around the city.

Last month Stirling Street business owner Cam Sinclair submitted a 101-signature petition calling on the council to “reconsider the discontinuation of commercial waste collections for the 2,111 small businesses in our community who rely on it every week”.

Former mayor Nick Catania also submitted a similar petition with 273 signatures.

The council’s decision was partly motivated by a plan to send zero waste to landfill by 2028. 

But Mr Catania pointed out the waste still had to go somewhere even if it was off the council’s ledger: “Private waste collectors will also dump their waste in landfill and cause environmental damage.”

He said business bins are the same as those used by residents, so they didn’t require extra trucks rumbling through town centres, while it was unfair for businesses to pay the same rates for a reduced service.

The council’s now confirmed there’ll be a “micro business” service, allowing tiddler enterprises to go FOGO from October for $699 a year, if the trucks don’t have to go out of their way.

And to slightly soften the bin-change blow Vincent’s announced traders will get a mild reprieve with a second year of no rate rises, but that means residential rates will likely go up 2.4 per cent.

This coming year affected businesses will also get a rebate of about $520 that’d normally go towards bin collection, but there’s no guarantee that future councils will offer a recurring rebate.

by DAVID BELL

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