Waste collection to be scrapped

A COMMERCIAL waste collection service run by Ballina Shire Council will be scrapped ‘as soon as possible' because it is not making enough money.

There are 176 front-lift bins across the shire, servicing more than 140 customers.

However, it is estimated the council will make just $16,000 from the service if it continues in 2010/11.

Despite staff recommending the service be stopped because it was a marginal operation ‘at best', mayor Phillip Silver said he believed it was an important and ‘healthy' part of the council.

“I think it's a proper business for us to be in,” he said.

Cr Alan Brown agreed, and said growth in commercial premises across the shire meant the waste collection service could once again become viable.

“I can't see why it can't become more profitable,” he said.

“If somebody went out and tried to chase up some business I think there is still money in it.”

But the council's civil services group manager, John Truman, said the council would need to get a new truck if the service was to continue.

He also said internal business had declined now that the Lake Ainsworth Caravan Park was no longer beingoperated by the council.

The front-lift waste collection service has been operated by the council for 12 years.

But it is an expensive venture.

Leasing of the truck costs almost $70,000 a year, and disposal costs add up to about $292,000.

Bin maintenance and depreciation totals $75,000.

The annual cost of running the service is $522,000, but the council made just $538,000 in the last financial year.

Mr Truman said staff would liaise closely with customers to ensure the impact on their businesses would be minimal.

It is understood all customers would be given time to make alternative arrangements before the council stopped the service.

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