Northern beaches: Early bin collections are resulting in hundreds of complaints

ON THE NOSE: Early bin collections are making some residents furious, councillor Vincent De Luca says. Picture: Geoff Jones
ON THE NOSE: Early bin collections are making some residents furious, councillor Vincent De Luca says. Picture: Geoff Jones

HUNDREDS of residents are complaining about early morning bin collections, but United Resources Management has slammed queries about whether it has enough resources to fulfil its contract to council as "ridiculous".

Some residents say their bins are being collected as early as 4am, despite council's contract with URM stipulating that collections must start from 6am, with some exceptions.

During COVID-19 restrictions a variation to the contract allowed for additional pre-6am collections so URM could stagger staff arrivals and allow for social distancing, but on March 29 council instructed URM to return to normal hours.

Since then, however, 375 complaints about pre-6am collections have been received by council.

Councillor Vincent De Luca said he receives complaints every single day from residents across the Beaches about pre-6am pick ups.

"We've got reports of bins being collected at 4am over the last 17 months and that's before COVID hit," he said.

We've got reports of bins being collected at 4am over the last 17 months and that's before COVID hit.

Councillor Vincent de Luca

"That noise pollution is having an adverse reaction to so many people, imagine your kids being woken up at 4am. This should have been stopped 17 months ago when the first complaints started coming in."

A URM spokeswoman said "collections have always taken place before 6am" and it would be unsafe to commence all services after 6am.

"The suggestion that URM does not have adequate resources to render the contract services is ridiculous," she said. "URM meets and exceeds all of its contractual obligations."

The Northern Beaches Review understands that council is not aware of limitations at URM which could negatively impact its ability to fulfil the contract.

Both URM and council said suggestions to change collections to 10am-2pm were not practical given the size of the LGA, the number of homes and additional costs for ratepayers, with URM saying it would "triple the cost of the service".

Council CEO Ray Brownlee said they are working on a "return to normal plan" with URM and that some collections have already been altered.

"URM has been requested to re-arrange schedules to ensure that noisier collections, such as bottle recycling, are collected later in the morning," he said.

"Council has also made requests to URM to rotate collection areas so that the same streets are not affected each week where possible.

We are very conscious of the impacts of early collections on our community and are working to balance this with the need to protect our essential waste service from ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks. With the relaxation of a number of COVID-19 restrictions earlier this year council is working with URM on a return to normal plan."

What you said

Cr De Luca called out to his followers on Facebook recently to see if bins were still be collected in their part of the northern beaches, these are some of the responses.

Scott Pepper - "4.01am garbage pickup since March 2020 in Belrose. Northern Beaches Council has been completely deaf on this issue. NBC has forgotten who is in charge URM works for NBC not the other way round".

Darcelle Bird - "I'm in Forestville and have a newborn and 2 year old. The 430/5.15am garbage pickups wake them both and shatter the rest of the day. My husband also works trade hours and a 4.30am wake up by bottle recycling trucks makes for a very long day. I really look forward to pick up times going back to normal".

David Hanzen - "5.15am Allambie Heights right now just shocking for people with young kids".

Michelle Grainger - "Elanora Heights near primary school around 5.40am today Friday 28 May".

Petra Morrell - "I called the council a few months ago and they gave me the excuse of COVID. Every Tuesday morning along Mortain Avenue, well before 6am, for months. And most Tuesdays the driver likes to pull up across the road from our house and wait, for I do t [sic] know what. Sound of his truck idling is enough to wake the whole street".

Anne-Louise Galati - "4.30am & 4.45am on Wimbledon Avenue North Narrabeen... ridiculous!"

Claire Gallagher - "Parts of Narraweena have had a 4:15am start for over a year now".

Kate Elizabeth - "We had a garbage truck at 5.05am this morning in Narraweena".

Alison Killian - "Burraloo/Wearden Rd is often 4.30am. They reverse the truck at the corner and often sit there and idle for a considerable amount of time and it's so noisy, wakes the entire neighbourhood. If you call the council, they tell you the earlier pick ups are because of COVID. How can that be as there's no restrictions, certainly not for services like that".

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