Several years ago in this space we vigorously defended maintenance of the annual council spring clean-up.
Now we have changed our mind. It has become clear that this service has created an almighty mess on our streets. Residents are using it as an opportunity to place all manner of items on the kerbside that, despite the best public education efforts, will never be picked up by the council. Around this time, foragers drive from street to street hoping to snare a bargain.
If this is the intent, we have a message for householders – hold a garage sale. The streets are not the place for your unwanted items which often sit there for weeks. It is creating a poor impression for visitors, let alone locals who take pride in Goulburn, Marulan and Tarago.
The service is abused and misunderstood to the point where items are appearing, even now, on kerbsides around Goulburn. (See photo left). It shows a lack of personal responsibility and disrespect for the many efforts to beautify and instill pride in our city.
So we applaud the council’s decision on Tuesday to scrap the pick-up in favour of free weekend drop-offs at the waste management centres. This scheme, involving service organisations like Rotary, Lions and the Men’s Shed has worked successfully in Wagga Wagga and Griffith. There’s no reason why it can’t work here.
The added advantage is that for one weekend, householders can offload for free mattresses, e-waste, refrigerators and air-conditioners that currently attract a fee. With any luck it will help put an end to dumping.
There will be administrative challenges and inevitable line-ups at the tips but we’re sure these can be managed. Good neighbours will come to the rescue of others who can’t transport this waste and we predict that ultimately, community organisations won’t have that many loads to collect.
It’s time that people realised waste management does not come cheap. In an increasingly throwaway society we take this service for granted. While communities are becoming much more savvy recycling wise, some landfills are still groaning under the weight.
This is the challenge we face at Goulburn, at least. In the future another landfill cell will be built. Over the next few years the council is spending $4 million to $5m on the city’s waste centre, focused on re-use. Now it’s up to the rest of us to get our house in order.