Call to tackle illegal rubbish dumping on nature strips

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By Zoe Lusted

Residents in the Sydney suburb of Hornsby, angry over the amount of illegal dumping in the area, hope new contracts will reshape waste services and combat the issue.

The Hornsby region has been inundated with illegal dumping in recent years, with nature strips of multi-level apartment the main targets. Buildings more than three levels high are not catered for by the Hornsby Shire Council’s current bulky waste collection service.

Resident of a five-storey building in Belair Close, William Denny, is among thousands of Hornsby locals struggling to dispose of bulky waste. 

“It’s pretty annoying having the streets constantly littered like this,” Mr Denny said.

“Council have sent a couple of warning letters to everyone in my building but I guess a lot of residents can’t afford the tip or don’t have cars so maybe they don’t have much of a choice without curbside collection” 

Deterrents such as CCTV and a hotline have failed, leaving residents questioning why the council doesn’t provide bulky waste collection for all residents, and more often.

The current suite of waste services contracts are due to expire throughout 2020-23, with the Waste Matters Strategy guiding the way for future services in the interim, whilst replacement contracts are sourced.

The council is using the conclusion of these contracts as an opportunity to review the area’s waste needs and improve on services, which Hornsby Shire Councillor, Emma Heyde, admits have fallen short.

“The incidences of dumping increasing in higher density areas is a clear correlation,” she said.

“The current waste contract started in 2010 and council only included services for apartments and buildings up to three storeys because at that time there wasn’t actually that many three to five storey developments, so the council decided just not to include them.

“It’s probably a bit of a gap in the contracts.”

Now, more than 24 per cent of Hornsby’s population live in apartment buildings, which is expected to increase to 40 per cent in the coming decades, according to Hornsby Shire Council statistics.

To improve the situation, the council is planning for the new contracts to include monthly bulky waste collection for all apartment buildings and additional collections for smaller dwellings, according to the Waste Matters Strategy.

However, securing contracts is proving to be difficult in the current economic climate, meaning illegal dumping could continue to be an issue in Hornsby as larger apartment buildings will remain not catered for in bulky waste collection for the foreseeable future. 

This story was produced as part of a first year Journalism unit at Deakin University.

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