Residents tell of “war zone” 

By Sunny Liu

Flinders St residents are pushing for the City of Melbourne to pick up rubbish from main road kerbs instead of storing bins in laneways to reduce clutter and save fees.

Robyn Bunting, owners’ corporation chair at Cosmopolitan Apartments on Flinders St, said residents could not put rubbish bins in laneways because of dumping and graffiti.

“We have had to take rubbish collection into their own hands. It’s a war zone to live in,” she said.

CBD laneways are often used as bin storage spaces for adjacent residential buildings and businesses.

Ms Bunting said storing rubbish bins in laneways caused nuisance and incurred high cleaning and penalty fees if the bins were found to be non-compliant by council.

She said the building’s owners’ corporation would spend $30,000 a year to hire a cleaner and an independent contractor to manage garbage collection.

The cleaner’s main task would be to put the garbage out and check the recycled bins to ensure compliance.

“We can’t put our bins in the laneway due to the number of bar goers and the late night artists who use our rubbish to make a nuisance in the laneway like breaking windows and throwing stuff around.”

“The bins are often disarrayed and we have to get our cleaner to sort out the rubbish to make sure appropriate rubbish goes into the designated bins,” she said.

Ms Bunting suggested council contractors should collect bin waste from Flinders St during clearway times between 7.30 and 9.30pm.

“Having bins at the front of the building would alleviate the issue. Collecting rubbish from roads like Flinders Lane, Flinders St, Bourke St makes sense because it saves time and money,” she said.

City of Melbourne media advisor Brian Wilson didn’t answer whether council would consider collecting rubbish from kerbs, but said rubbish and recycling collections were “timed to minimise the impact on pedestrians, cyclists, traffic and other road users, especially during peak times when clearways are in operation”.

Jenny Eltham, president of East Enders residents group, said she was particularly concerned about laneway bin clutters caused by businesses.

“Business should take ownership of their bins and keep their bins clean, neat and in an orderly fashion,” she said.

“Using compactors in laneways have made a big difference in laneways in Chinatown. We should encourage council to employ more people on their waste management team and encourage businesses to have better bin facilities to keep the city clean,” Ms Eltham said.

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