Commercial waste contractors say they’re frustrated by Queenstown council’s ‘‘consultation’’ over changes to CBD collections in Queenstown and Arrowtown, coming into effect on Monday.
In September, council announced it’d be stopping pick-ups from public land, including commercial waste collection points, due to ‘‘ongoing complaints and feedback’’.
The changeover was initially planned for November 1, but the deadline was subsequently extended.
In a second letter to businesses, dated October 24, council staffers said they’d since held a series of ‘‘productive drop-in sessions’’, engaged in ‘‘meaningful conversations’’ with commercial operators and ‘‘carefully considered the valuable feedback’’.
The letter noted there were some operational concerns raised about ensuring commercial rubbish trucks have sufficient access to loading zones.
Council’s working through that directly with operators, the letter says.
‘‘Furthermore, we are exploring opportunities to beautify the collection point locations to improve the space — some options include maintained planter boxes or cycle racks for everyone to enjoy.’’
The change means businesses have to store waste and recycling on their own sites and either arrange an ‘on property’ service, or take it themselves to council’s waste facilities.
Failure to comply may result in enforcement action, including possible infringement penalties and/or ‘‘seizure of your bins’’, the letter says.
AllWaste business development manager Malcolm Dodds says, essentially, it means a 24/7 ban on putting rubbish or recycling bins on the street, resulting in a ‘‘door-to-truck service’’.
AllWaste is about to reinstate two additional runs to manage the workload.
Smart Environmental, meanwhile, is introducing an extended morning run, from 5am till 10am, for four of their trucks.
Those drivers will all need to find a park or a free loading zone, go to individual businesses, collect their bins, return to the trucks to
empty them, and then take the bins back.
Dodds says some businesses will need to have their bins sitting inside their doors, ‘‘or we’re going to have to walk through their business, with their bins’’.
He and Smart Environmental manager Ricci Peyroux are both supportive of the intention behind the changes, but less so about how it’s been handled.
Dodds says he’s frustrated there’s been ‘‘no leeway from council at all’’.
Both companies sought for bins to be allowed on the street between 9pm and 9am, ‘‘but there was no uptake on that’’, Dodds says.
‘‘It’s been very difficult for us and, of course, other people have said ‘collectors have washed their hands of the problem’.
‘‘We haven’t washed our hands of the problem, we’ve been working furiously to try to solve the problem.’’
Peyroux: ‘‘We’re getting loads of businesses against it, and we’re having to say, ‘it’s not us, we’re responding to the changes, this is what the council wants’.
‘‘There are a lot of unhappy businesses in the CBD.’’
Dodds thinks there’s also potential for unintended consequences regarding the amount of waste going directly to landfill.
That’s because many businesses don’t have room for three or four separate bins onsite constantly, so are asking for ‘‘one big bin’’ in
which everything will be thrown.
Peyroux says from a pragmatic perspective, it’d make more sense, and be less costly, if bins were allowed on the streets overnight.
‘‘It’d be far more simple and it probably would have worked for everyone.’’
Council media man Sam White says they’re continuing to work with commercial waste providers on the new arrangements.
‘‘Specifically, we have encouraged them to provide feedback on how things are working via the council’s request for service system (with such requests considered by our roading team), and also participate in the upcoming consultation on a draft district-wide parking strategy that will also consider loading zones.’’