Council defends verge-collection cuts

A City of Stirling resident with the dumped rubbish outside her home.
A City of Stirling resident with the dumped rubbish outside her home.

Late last year, the City abruptly changed its verge collection policy, cutting the number of road-side, bulk waste collections from two, per suburb per year, to one.

The change prompted an outcry from Stirling residents who were not consulted regarding the change, with the Times receiving multiple complaints through Facebook and letters to the editor, while the City itself received over 200 complaints.

With a report on the new collection process due to be presented to the Infrastructure and Community Development Committee on March 26, the City has defended the changes, which were made in order to conform with the State Government’s waste diversion targets.

City of Stirling manager of waste and fleet Sean Sciberras said the targets could not be reached under a policy that retained two collections per year.

He said one of the main drivers behind the change, apart from the need to increase diversion from landfill, was significant costs attributed to the use of contractors and staff overtime that resulted in minor injuries and sick leave.

Mr Sciberras added that a reduction in overtime was necessary for the duty of care of staff. ‘The ability to create a ‘Clean and Waste Wise’ City would not be possible if the previous system was maintained without a significant increase in staff and plant,’ he said.

‘The reduction in the number of collections allows the City to utilise the current staff and plant to achieve its goals.’

He said two collections per year was unwarranted even under the old system, and suggested some onus lay with residents.

‘Residents are encouraged to be more efficient in the placement of waste on verges. Data gathered indicated that the majority of residents utilised one collection, while the other same collection was not required by the majority.’

The City was scheduled last weekend to start clearing areas with significant, unscheduled placement of verge waste.