Rubbish catches fire at a Gympie dump in 2015, one of the major concerns which prompted the council's controversial overhaul of their waste services.
Rubbish catches fire at a Gympie dump in 2015, one of the major concerns which prompted the council's controversial overhaul of their waste services. Gympie Regional Council

Controversial changes save Gympie council $180k

THE controversial overhaul of the Gympie region's dumps slashed at least $180,000 from the council's annual costs, it was revealed yesterday.

Data presented to councillors at a workshop showed closures and changes to dump open hours at Tin Can Bay, Rainbow Beach, Kilkivan, Goomeri and Gunalda reduced running costs from $1.09 million in 2014 to $909,000 in 2018.

The biggest cut was at Tin Can Bay where $126,000 was dumped from the running cost.

In those four years the council changed its service from one engineered landfill, and multiple manned and unmanned dump and bin sites to the engineered landfill and nine manned bin sites.

One of the previously unsupervised bin sites in the Gympie regional Council area.
One of the previously unsupervised bin sites in the Gympie regional Council area. Gympie Regional Council

Environmental damage from litter and safety hazards including fires at some sites played big roles in the council's decision to overhaul its waste services.

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"We were in the Dark Ages,” chief executive officer Bernard Smith said.

And although the changes have been met with outrage and angst in some corners of the community, only 66 complaints were lodged in the 18 months from January 2017 to mid-2018.

Rubbish at an unsupervised dump.
Rubbish and litter at an unsupervised dump. Gympie Regional Council

The new charges were the main concern accounting for 41 of the complaints. More than half of these were "general complaints”. Requests for free disposal for schools and charities were next, with calls for free dump vouchers finishing a distant third.

Changes to the dumps' open hours was the next largest thing to draw people's ire.

These complaints were evenly split over ineffective communication and consultation, and being caught out by the changes.