Student quarter rubbish 'recipe for disaster'

The trail of rubbish left left on the streets by students and landlords in North Dunedin is a ''recipe for disaster'', a senior Dunedin firefighter says.

Senior Station Officer Lindsay Rae, of the Dunedin Central station, said the rubbish left behind by departing students and other tenants in North Dunedin ''becomes too much of a temptation to some of the more unruly members of the area''.

''They can't help setting things on fire, which of course is a total waste of our resources and a danger with regard to setting fire to [buildings] close by,'' Mr Rae said.

Those lighting fires using the discarded rubbish, which included furniture, electronics and bags packed with trash, tended to drag rubbish together to make ''bigger lots'', which was a ''recipe for disaster''.

Council solid waste manager Ian Featherston said the problem arose at the end of the academic year and around New Year, when leases finished.

It was not just students who were responsible for the rubbish strewn on the street.

''Quite a few'' landlords emptied out flats on to the footpath, in the hope the council would clean it up.

''They don't want to pay the tip fee so they leave it on the street.''

With Dunedin having a ''user pays'' rubbish system, it was not the council's responsibility to clear rubbish from the street and in the end it was up to the landlord.

''We give them a chance to clean up and if they don't, we hit them with a $100 fine or, if it's a big mess, a [larger] fine.''

If no-one could be located, it was up to the council to pick up the rubbish, which cost it about $50,000 a year across the whole city.

Rates would ''skyrocket'' if the council had a ''clean streets'' policy.

''It's up to the people who live in the area to take pride in their area and look after the place. They are just like any other resident ... and they should be treated that way.''

Otago Metals Skip Hire worker Allan Johnston said January was a busy time for skip hire companies, as landlords cleared out flats before new tenants arrived.

Stop complaining

Without students this city would be a dead end and everyone knows it. The tertiary sector is driving the whole Dunedin economy. So keep complaining, but at the end of the day you'll just help decrease tertiary rolls even more.


everlast: Landlords wouldn't have the cheek to send their tenants bills for the junk left behind given the excessive rents and poor value for money of rental properties in the student area. The students likely lose their bond though.


It always really upsets me to see the amount of recyclable and reusable things that go into the skips, including the monthly Friday skips the council provides. Apart from recyclables like cardboard and glass, there are often suitcases, mattresses, furniture, tvs, and all manner of miscellaneous items going to the dump where they will lie indefinitely. I saw a bbq in a skip the other day - I was tempted to take it and sell it to the scrap metal yard. It's all a hideous waste, which is compounded by the fact that students turn up the next year scrabbling around trying to buy these exact same items.


Do the landlords send a bill to the students who used to flat there?

Student rubbish

While there would be a cost to the ratepayers perhaps a council-organised inorganic rubbish collection would be the answer?

Wrong, wrong, wrong

Always complaining about students.

I have been down to the area many times after the students had left.  And while there may have been a lot of trash, it was neatly set out for the waste experts to collect.


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