Rubbish solution

The Mt Barker Council’s decision to investigate creating a hard waste disposal service will be welcomed by many ratepayers.
Feedback to the council over several years has indicated the community clearly wants the service and the council is now determining whether it is a possibility.
An interesting debate is to be had about the preferred options for the service – whether to charge ratepayers a blanket fee for kerbside pick up, to operate on a user pays basis or to implement an alternative model.
Kerbside pick up could be a positive way for residents to see their rates at work.
They would book in a pick up time, put their waste on the side of the road and watch the truck carry away the TV or couch they no longer want or need with no upfront costs.
A user pay model would charge only those residents wishing to utilise the service.
That would mean the environmentally conscious resident who might reuse or up-cycle granny’s old chest of drawers rather than throw them away is not slugged for a service they probably would not use.
Deputy Mayor Samantha Jones asked the council’s August meeting “why should a diligent, environmentally aware resident who has limited waste pay for a service that they are likely to never use?”.
While that is a fair question, ratepayers regularly pay for services they might never use.
Not everyone borrows books from a council-owned library, not everyone drives on all council-owned roads and not everyone spends their leisure time in council-owned parks and reserves.
Sometimes the only way of providing a service is to charge blanket fees.
Illegal dumping has been an issue for the council and, while hard waste disposal won’t completely stop it, residents would at least be given another way to appropriately dispose of unwanted items.
It would also hopefully reduce council’s costs to tidy and dispose of illegally dumped waste.
A report outlining preferred service models and their associated costs is set to come back to the council in about six months.
It will then be up to elected members to make the hard call about which service – if any – they believe is best for the community.