Cop out on trucks

By Shane Scanlan

Locals seeking respite from garbage truck noise will be sorely disappointed with the City of Melbourne’s new waste strategy.

Presented at the May 15 Future Melbourne Committee, the Draft Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030 replaces both an earlier strategy as well as a three-year plan.

The strategy reveals that the problem is getting worse with some 40 companies now registered with the council to send trucks into the CBD to collect rubbish. In 2016 the number of registered companies was 36.

Former city engineer Geoff Robinson, the author of the expired Waste and Resource Recovery Plan 2015-18, at least attempted to tackle the problem.  His plan was never going to be adequate, but he proposed six “pilot” compactors that residents could use free of charge to deposit their waste.

At a cost of $100,000 each and an annual operating cost of $150,000 each, the hundreds of compactors required for adequate coverage of the CBD was always destined to be a pipe dream.

But at least Mr Robinson’s plan included defined costings and a timeline for implementation.

The new Draft Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030 barely acknowledges the problem and proposes an even more wishy-washy solution.

In its report on engagement, the council says it was told: “Large numbers of waste companies are still operating in the central city causing problems with noise.” Its response was: “The draft acknowledges the amenity impacts of waste management and seeks to reduce these impacts through a range of actions.”

It’s an encouraging response – until you start searching through the draft document for the “range of actions”.

The council correctly lists “Reducing amenity impacts from waste collection” as one of four priorities.  But it falls well short when proposing solutions.

Under its “Actions” heading for this priority, the council says it will:

“Implement. Review the existing waste collection permit system and ‘restricted access areas’ to identify the potential to further improve amenity;

Collaborate. Review waste collection in the central city in conjunction with the waste industry and other stakeholders;  and

Implement. Extend the existing network of central city waste compactors and recycling hubs, focusing on areas where there are high numbers of cafes and eateries.”

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