Rubbish frustrates

Some of the rubbish at Sandown Park Station. Pictures: JONTY RALPHSMITH.

By Jonty Ralphsmith

A Noble Park resident has taken objection to rubbish accumulation at the entrance of Sandown Park Station, labelling it an eyesore.

Julie Klok goes by the entrance on Lightwood Road several times per week and expects better than the mess she is always confronted with.

“I really appal the dumping of rubbish, the thoughtlessness of it, I think it’s a blight on the landscape,” Ms Klok said.

“The bin seems to be a receptacle for household rubbish and food – there is stuff spilling everywhere.

“Not only is it in an eyesore, but it is totally unhygienic and it’s dirty. Why is it even there? Even if there is a legitimate reason for it to be located in that area, it should not be so close to the entrance.”

A rubbish skip is located adjacent to the path which leads to the station, releasing an odour and blemishing the pathway.

Ms Klok said she has seen the skip lid overhanging the pathway on occasion, adding weight to her frustration.

Councillor Sean O’Reilly echoed Ms Klok’s sentiment at a council meeting on Monday 23 May.

“There apparently is a large skip positioned there partially full and has been there for several months and it is not apparent as to why it is still there and obviously we want to keep things clean and tidy and have pride in where we live so I would appreciate if the council can make some enquiries into what the purpose of that skip was or is,” Cr O’Reilly said.

Also at the site is a clothing charity bin which is frequently overflowing, resulting in items being left next to the bins.

Cr O’Reilly expressed frustration at the their lack of maintenance, having also raised the issue several years ago.

In recent years, similar issues have surfaced at Vinnies and Coles in Springvale.

“I acknowledge that the charities have good intentions and do good work however there is a responsibility that charities should be responsible for amenity impact of their donation bins and within reason the donation bins are emptied regularly so careless residents don’t have the excuse of putting clothes on the footpath which then gets dirty,” he said.

“If they don’t clean up around their bin can we revoke their permit or should we charge the charities – maybe a bit controversial – for any cleanup that happens around the bins where there is a direct causal link?”

Director of planning Jody Bosman said CCTV footage has enabled the identification and prosecution of some dumpers and conveyed that that charities are equally frustrated that their money needs to be spent mending the issue, rather than towards their community service – a sentiment echoed by SCR group.

The organisation said that many sites had CCTV footage to stamp out illegal dumping but Sandown Park Station – located on PTV land – was not one of those sites.

A staff member from SCR conducts a pickup from that site.

Josie Jones from SCR said that a collaborative approach was needed to reduce the issue, rather than further stripping a good-willed company of resources when close to $1 million is already annually spent managing rubbish dumping.

“As an organisation we get blamed for mismanagement when it is the community’s misbehaviour causing the issue,” she asaid.

“Instead of them using the bins appropriately, they see it as an opportunity to dump rubbish. We are working to manage that.

“We need to be working together to educate our community and thi sis a social issue of people doing the wrong thing and at the moment the bill and ensure community have access to services to manage their hard waste appropriately.”

Ms Jones said that the community need to be educated about what items could be accepted into the bins. SCR’s motto is: if it does not go on your body, it does not go inside this hub.

She thanked the City of Greater Dandenong for previously supporting pop-up homecycling sessions where SCR would go to people’s houses where SCR picks up pre-loved goods to be repurposed.

The most recent one of these sessions occurred in 2022, and, while residents can request an SCR pickup, the program is more effective when supported by council.

Ms Jones said running a homecycling program would mean that people had a mechanism to sustainably dispose of hard waste, likely limiting illegal dumping.