Gerringong needs new home for reverse vending

David McGroder and Councillor Mark Westhoff

The South Precinct has been charged with finding a replacement home for the reverse vending machine, after the May Council Meeting voted for the removal of Gerringong’s existing machine from Jubilee Park (Mick Cronin Oval).

Council staff had recommended renewing the licence to the operator, Tomra Collections, for another year after judging that the inconvenience to nearby residents was outweighed by the benefit to the community.

However councillors were swayed by the representations of residents, including David McGroder, that the facility was not suitable so close to housing.

“I know a lot of people will be disappointed in this decision as the site was convenient for not only Gerringong residents but a lot of other people and organisations from the surrounding areas who used this facility,” he says.

“It was put there as a trial and the trial clearly didn’t work for nearby residents.

“It is a very noisy facility and generates a lot of traffic.

“We had trucks roaring up the street three or four times a day, and two or three of those times they would be emptying full skip loads of glass.

“The noise is incredible. On a still day, it’s been heard as far away as Greta Street.”

He says you have to live across the road to understand its full impact.

“I didn’t think much about it when it first went in, but it just got busier and busier when the one in Berry closed.

“I support the concept of reverse vending and use it myself, but the facilities shouldn’t be in residential areas.

“This is community land, and yet it is being used for a commercial purpose.”

Mr McGroder was one of ten residents who lodgedsubmissions against renewing the lease. There were no submissions in favour of it staying there.

Their cause was championed by Councillor Mark Westhoff, despite his association with the local Lions Club, which raised $35,000 through the machine last year.

“It comes down to the fact it is an industrial facility that shouldn’t be in suburbia,” he says.

“I wouldn’t like to live near it, so I had to look after those that do.”

Mr McGroder says it is going to be hard to find somewhere else to put it in Gerringong, with Council already ruling out many other locations that it controls.

The upper car park at Boat Harbour is the most likely spot at the moment, but Mr McGroder has his doubts about its suitability.

“I don’t think it would work for residents because of the truck traffic up and down that narrow street, and the risk of associated rubbish ending up in the ocean.”

Both Mr McGroder and Cllr Westhoff agree the best location for it would be on suitable private land in an industrial area.
Council received $11,000 a year rent for locating the facility on its land.

During the debate, Councillor Matt Brown stressed his original opposition to the facilities, saying he predicted the problems that would be associated with them.

Council has to give one month’s notice for the facility to be removed.

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