Collectors dish Queenstown rubbish regime

Bins like these clogging a Shotover St footpath will be a thing of the past come November 1....
Bins like these clogging a Shotover St footpath will be a thing of the past come November 1. Photo: Mountain Scene
Rubbish collectors say the council’s plan to curb kerbside bin pick-ups in the Queenstown and Arrowtown CBDs, from November 1, will at least double their workload — and add significant costs to businesses.

Council last week announced it was ceasing pick-ups from public land, including often-overflowing commercial waste collection points, due to "ongoing complaints and feedback".

In publicising a council letter to businesses, Queenstown Chamber boss Sharon Fifield wrote: "Walking down [Queenstown’s] Shotover St lately is like a game of ‘dodge the bin’."

AllWaste business development manager Malcolm Dodds and Smart Environmental area manager Ricci Peyroux support council tidying up the place, but say the new regime, whereby they’ll collect bins from individual premises, will be logistically challenging and costly.

"With the greatest of respect, [council’s] washed their hands of it," Dodds says.

Instead of picking up bins from public spaces like footpaths, while driving by, often in the early hours, "you’ve got to park your truck on a loading zone, if there’s space, walk to the restaurant or business to get their bin, take them back to the truck, empty them and then take them back to the business".

"The person it will ultimately affect is the end user, because you don’t increase your vehicles, your [workforce], and do it at the same price you do it now."

Peyroux says the problem is Queenstown businesses don’t have service lanes out the back they could store their bins in — "we’ve got Searle Lane and Cow Lane and they’re of limited use".

For him, the irony is his business and AllWaste had combined to take a truck off the road "to reduce carbon", and they’ll probably now need more.

For businesses that don’t have a nook or cranny to store bins in, he thinks they might be tempted to reduce their number of bins, meaning they’d sacrifice their recycling bin first, "which would probably not quite suit council’s waste minimisation programme".

"It’s just a perfect storm."

Dodds says "whilst I agree bins sitting on the road all day doesn’t look good round this beautiful town, other options had been suggested which were turned down".

Council spokesman Sam White says "we’ve been having good dialogue with local businesses and commercial operators about loading zones and other matters relating to the closure of commercial waste collection points".

After drop-in sessions at the Queenstown Memorial Centre this Monday — 10am-12pm and 2-4.30pm — and at Arrowtown Athenaeum Hall next Wednesday — 10am-12pm — "the project team will then consider all the feedback we receive in good time before [November 1]".