Wheelie mad

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Queenstown pensioners and bar staff are rubbishing a planned new wheelie bin bylaw. 

Proposed new rules will stop residents putting bins outside the night before pick-up. 

For Queenstown pensioner Joan Cooke (right) that means braving freezing winter mornings to beat the rubbish truck which usually arrives at 8.15am. 

If she doesn’t, she’ll risk a whopping new $1000 fine – up from an existing maximum of $100. 

The Aspen Grove resident fumes that if Queenstown Lakes District Council goes ahead with the move, she’ll have a surprise for rubbish truck crews. 

“They’ll be looking at old Mrs Cooke in her nightie.” 

At the moment, she and husband Alan put their bins out about 3pm the day before. 

Even if she’s up at 8.15am, she’s usually not dressed: “I’m an old-age pensioner. In the middle of winter? We’d be frozen to the footpath.” 

Other retirees tell Mountain Scene they also hate the idea, saying in some suburbs rubbish trucks arrive at 8am, so they’d have to get up even earlier. 

Hospitality workers are also unhappy. Many finish between 3am-5am and will either have to stay up or break their sleep to make the rubbish truck. 

“It’s not great for hospo staff,” bar manager Lydia Hewitson says. “I’m all for keeping streets green but it’s unrealistic. The fine is ridiculous.”

Council solid waste boss Stefan Borowy says the curfews stem from complaints of bins clogging footpaths. 

Lots? “Not many. One every quarter, something like that.” 

His report for Tuesday’s meeting told councillors the new bylaw doesn’t need consultation because amendments are “minor amendments” – but his report doesn’t mention the 7am and 7pm curfews. 

That’s only noted in the fine print of the attached full bylaw draft. 

Borowy tells Mountain Scene he still considers those changes “minor” and says the council isn’t trying to inconvenience anyone. This week’s meeting deferred passing the bylaw so a working party can “work through those issues”, he says.