VERGES filled with trash for the annual “bring out your dead” collection could be a thing of the past in Fremantle and Melville.
On Wednesday evening, Fremantle council’s policy and operations committee voted to adopt a pre-booked “verge valet” system, though it had some opposition and will have to come before the full council before being implemented.
Verge Valets are being increasingly adopted by other metropolitan councils such as Joondalup, Swan, Kalamunda, Subiaco and Vincent.
Council staff claim the valet system has led to better recycling rates where it has been introduced (up to 70 per cent) and correspondingly lowered the amount of junk going to landfill, though that’s also because less actual rubbish is collected during the year.
But it comes at a cost; even though less is collected it will cost about $50,000 more than the current system.
Mayor Hannah Fitzhardinge says one of the council’s consideration is that as valet systems become more common, there are fewer contractors able to do the big yearly collection. Being a “very small fish” Freo could find it hard to compete and miss out altogether.
“Another advantage with Verge Valet is that we can cover the whole city, as there are some places where the verges are too constricted or its just not possible to collect there; I think it’s something like 2000 places.
“Currently that have to take their rubbish to the recycling centre.”
Ms Fitzhardinge said with a pre-booked system the council could encourage people to think more about whether their old stuff might go on one of the
“buy nothing” websites which would further encourage waste reduction.
The council’s teams would also find it easier to identify recyclables when they can speak to the resident rather than face huge jumbles.
She says in other valet adopters, it’s helped to greatly reduce “fly” or illegal dumping.
Melville is also considering the valet model, and Ms Fitzhardinge said she’d like to see them work together to save money.
But Hilton warder Ben Lawver, who likes the “communal experience” of
the annual collection, says the council is rushing into the system without getting the full picture or engaging with its residents.
He wants to know whether the service would be capped.
“On soemthing as important as collecting rubbish, I hope as a city we can do better to engage the public than list it as an agenda item on Friday night at 5pm, expect people to read this agenda and make comment to us before a vote on the item five days later,” he said.
Cr Lawver said the council looked like it was going to put more effort into asking people what they wanted their new wards to be called than how they wanted their bulk waste collected.
He later told the Herald he also had concerns that sending out trucks for the odd pick-up would leave a much higher carbon footprint than a fleet that went out at one time and only returned when they were full.
He also wants to know how much rubbish is actually picked up by neighbours and diverted to landfill, saying it’s talked about but never quantified.
“This year I have collected 36 ute-loads of furniture for the Kimberley.”
by STEVE GRANT