Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Rubbish bins being removed to save $10 million

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Rubbish bins such as this one in Logan Carr Park, Dannemora, are being removed from across the city. Times photo Chris Harrowell

Backlash is growing against efforts to remove more than 150 rubbish bins from public parks and reserves in the local community in an effort to save almost $10 million.

Auckland Council is removing a large number, but not all, of the bins from across the city.

Numerous discussions on the issue have taken place on local community Facebook pages with the general feeling being it will make it harder for people to dispose of waste including dog faeces.

“People will just dump their rubbish or not pick up dog mess at all,” one person said.

Another noted numerous bins have been removed from their community in Bucklands Beach.

“We’ve had multiple bins removed from … shops, waterfront, picnic areas. [It’s] just another cost-cutting move that will cost more in the long run.”

A third local resident recently posted on a community Facebook page about the issue, saying the council had removed the bin from Highbrook Park.

“People are just leaving their bags of dog s*** where the bin was.

“So now people who used to pick up their dog s*** won’t bother because no one wants to drive home with a bag of stinking s*** in their car.

“They want people to pick up after themselves, whether it’s dog s*** or just general rubbish, but won’t provide the means necessary to get rid of it.”

A photo taken on the Rotary Walkway in Pakuranga and posted to social media on January 16 shows what appears to be about eight bags of dog faeces in a pile on the ground.

The person who posted the photo says dog owners are “now leaving their bags in the absence of bins”.

A patch of dirt marks the spot where a rubbish bin once stood in Logan Carr Park, Dannemora. Times photo Chris Harrowell

Council general manager parks and community facilities Taryn Crewe says the organisation has about 10,000 bins across the region.

A large portion of them are underutilised and contain little to no rubbish when being emptied, she says.

“Accordingly, the council has undertaken a rationalisation exercise, as part of the annual budget savings target, aiming for a 30 per cent reduction in the number of bins currently located across the region.

“In the Howick Local Board area, 175 rubbish bins have been identified for removal, while 412 bins will remain.”

Crewe says the council will only remove those that have historically low use and are near other bins, so it doesn’t envisage a “material increase” in loose litter as a result.

“We estimate the bin optimisation project will result in potential savings of $9.5 million over the next eight financial years.”

Howick Local Board chairperson Damian Light says the board wasn’t involved in the approval process but was asked for informal feedback on the proposed removal list.

The board appreciates some locals are concerned about the potential impact of increased littering or remaining bins becoming overfull, he says.

“If there’s sufficient demand in certain locations, bins can be returned to areas that need them.

“We’ve been told the best way for the public to request a bin’s return is to log a complaint by phoning on 09 301 0101 or online at https://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/report-problem/formal-complaint/.”

Light says the dumping of rubbish in public places is illegal and should be reported by phoning 0800 663 867.

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