Councillors endorse waste strategy for the next decade

Unhappy: Cr Marcus Cornish voted against endorsing the Penrith Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy (2017- 2026) on Monday.
Unhappy: Cr Marcus Cornish voted against endorsing the Penrith Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy (2017- 2026) on Monday.

Councillors have endorsed a waste strategy to cover the Penrith area until 2026: but not without criticism.

Councillors were asked to endorse the Waste and Resource recovery Strategy (2017-2026) at the September 11 policy review committee meeting,the “final product of [a] lengthy review and assessment of council’s current operational practices, strategic influences, government legislation and state of the waste industry”, according to the report.

The strategy sets the direction for the next decade and informs specifications for future waste tenders, including domestic waste services.

A community survey undertaken as part of the process had revealed 70 per cent of respondents were “satisfied with the existing waste services” offered by council, and of those that were satisfied, 89 per cent “noted that the service meets their needs”.

In a statement released by council on Wednesday, the strategy was hailed as “future-focused” and “encourages residents to champion their waste to reduce the region’s environmental footprint”.

Cr John Thain said Penrith has the highest level of recycling in the region thanks to the efforts of our local residents.

“Council’s strategy has delivered significant economic and environmental results and has protected residents from the high cost of tipping fees, which are continually increasing” he said in the statement.

“The overall waste footprint has been reduced making the waste strategy a good investment for the community as a whole.

“Council acknowledges the changes it made to its waste practices weren’t without challenges, however they have been shown to be best practice and we are in a stronger position now compared to many other local government areas that are struggling to meet their State targets.”

But Cr Marcus Cornish, who voted against endorsing the policy, said council had “lost its way” in terms of waste services provision.

The long-time campaigner for an across-the-board weekly red bin collection said council was trying to “run itself like it’s some business” rather than simply providing services.

“It’s been 30 degrees in Penrith [this week]. If you choose to get your red bin picked up but your neighbour doesn’t, you have still got a health risk,” he said outside the meeting.  

Council will look at all services currently provided and identify potential for improved resource recovery, the statement said.

Council endorsed the Penrith Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy (2017- 2026). It will now come before an ordinary council meeting for ratification.