Free tip run on the cards for some Ballina residents
IT’S not the outcome that Ballina councillor Phil Meehan was after, but he is pleased there is progress on an issue he has long been campaigning for.
Last week, Ballina Shire Council agreed to receive a report on providing one free tip voucher for ratepayers who are pensioners and health care card-holders.
This was an amendment to Cr Meehan’s request to trial an annual free tip run for all ratepayers.
While Cr Meehan said he was “disappointed” his original motion wasn’t supported by his colleagues, he said the “compromise” was at least a step forward.
“I see it as a good compromise,” he said.
He said he could sense during the debate that his motion wasn’t going to get up, so he was happy to support the amended motion just to see some action on the issue.
This was the third time Cr Meehan had brought the issue to council.
He said if council eventually agreed to one free tip voucher for ratepayers who are pensioners and health care card-holders, the implementation of the program would provide valuable data for a possible extension of the system to all ratepayers.
“We can learn about the costs, we can learn about the take-up and we can learn about operational systems,” he said.
Council’s decision came before last Sunday’s Clean Up Australia Day in which volunteers from the local chapter of the recreational fishers group OzFish Unlimited picked up 740kg of dumped household rubbish from the saltmarsh area near North Creek, which only a fortnight ago had suffered a major fish kill.
The saltmarsh area, which is inundated at high tide, is a key prawn and crab habitat — and isn’t far from the Ballina Waste Management Centre.
Cr Meehan said one factor leading to illegal dumping of rubbish was the cost of going to the tip.
“If we (Ballina council) could trial a one free tip-access system, we can see what impacts that has on dumpings,” he said.
He said the reports of the dumpings collected by North Creek last Sunday were “highly concerning.”
“One of our priorities should be looking after our natural assets,” he said.