NANGILOC, Colignan and Iraak residents have been issued with new rubbish and recycling bins ahead of today’s first scheduled kerbside waste collections.

The new measures were adopted at Mildura Rural City Council’s April meeting, and will see a weekly rubbish and fortnightly recycling service introduced in Nangiloc, Colignan and Iraak.

Councillor for Environmental Sustainability, Judi Harris, PICTURED, said the changes were integral to Council’s ongoing commitment to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, while also encouraging resource recycling across the municipality.

“Consultation with these communities was very thorough, and we understand some of the initial concerns around these changes,” she said. “The new kerbside service will not only provide residents with a convenient way to dispose of waste and recycling, it will also support our work to reduce environmental impact.”

As part of the roll-out, households have received information packs to help residents understand what can be recycled, and what needs to go into rubbish, as well as where to place bins for collection.

It is expected that the service will cost property owners up to $340 a year.

“The first weekly rubbish collection will take place on Friday, September 2 (today),” Cr Harris said. “Recycling is picked up fortnightly, with the first pick-up for recycling scheduled for Friday, September 9.”

The introduction of the new kerbside services was not initially met with enthusiasm by residents, with some, including members of the Nangiloc Colignan and District Community Association, trying to block the move.

Prior to councillors voting to adopt the services, residents opposed to the move submitted a 35-page report to Council in an effort to sway them against the plan.

Residents opposed to the plan told the Mildura Weekly prior to Council’s April meeting that they “didn’t need the service and wouldn’t use it,” despite being forced to pay the additional annual fee.

They also said that in many cases the service was not suitable for their area.

According to a report submitted to Council, 286 surveys were sent to Nangiloc, Colignan and Iraak residents to seek feedback on the plan. Sixty surveys were returned – a 21 percent return rate.

Of those returned, 55 percent, or 33 residents, said they would be ‘very likely’ to use the service, while 35 percent, or 21 residents, indicated they wouldn’t use it.

Residents opposed to the service said the fact that 79 percent of respondents failed to return the survey indicated a significant lack of support for the plan.

“In relation to the survey response rate, 21 percent of people responded with close to 60 percent of those people responding positively to the introduction,” Council’s acting general manager Development, Mike Mooney, said.

“Every resident in the area was supplied with a survey, as well as opportunities to contact us directly to discuss the issues in a one-on-one setting.

“As with any new service for a community, there will be those who are not satisfied with the outcome. Generally speaking though, the response since the bins started being delivered has been positive.”

Residents also raised concerns about which roads, such as long unsealed stretches of road, would be serviced, and how properties with long driveways would be managed given the distances residents would be required to move their bins for collection.

“After our original consultation, we then hosted three additional drop-in sessions at three different venues and times where people were given another opportunity to discuss their concerns with Council staff,” Mr Mooney said.

“Twenty-eight people took the opportunity to attend these extra sessions, and the concerns mainly centred around the cost of the service and individual issues relating to specific property logistics.

“We felt that most people left with a better understanding of what we are trying to achieve, and we also received some valuable feedback which we took into consideration.

“We already service quite a few residents who live on unsealed roads in very isolated areas, and when there are significant weather events, such as heavy rains or extreme heat, we have a process that allows us to contact the affected landowners and organise for alternative pick-up options.”

Deliveries of the 120-litre rubbish bin and the 240-litre recycling bin began in early August, with those residents yet to receive their bins asked to contact Council on 5018 8100.

“We really encourage anyone with any questions to contact our Customer Service staff,” Cr Harris said. “We would love to see the transition go as smoothly as possible.”

More information about kerbside waste services is available from Council’s website, or from any of Council’s service centres.