By Luke Voogt
The “worst dumping ever” at the Salvo’s North Geelong store has prompted local traders to call for increased security measures.
Peter Anderson, who owns a nearby car wash, was furious after litterers again dumped mounds of household items and clothing at the store on Monday.
“This is an absolute disgrace,” he said. “It’s affecting the businesses out here. I’ve had stuff blown onto my property.”
Mr Anderson accused the Salvos of “deliberately shifting” the problem to ratepayers by building a fence around the around the property.
He blamed the fence for recent dumping in the street, which he described as the worst he had seen at the site.
Illegal dumping has long plagued the store and in 2016 was costing the Salvos about $125,000 a year to clean up.
But the fence forced council to take over much of the clean-up, Mr Anderson said.
“(The Salvos are) quite happy to put thousands of dollars of cost onto the Geelong ratepayers.”
He urged the charity to install lighting, surveillance cameras and signage or hire a security guard.
“I spent the money on my video surveillance and equipment like every other business in the area. Why don’t they?”
Mr Anderson said a meeting with Geelong council representatives and store management a few weeks before Christmas failed to resolve the problem.
“(The Salvos are) happy to do anything so long as it’s not at their cost.”
Nearby store manager Jason Arnel described one instance of dumping last November as the worst he had seen.
“They need to do something because it’s not working,” he said.
Mr Arnel agreed the fence at the store had worsened the dumping but said the Salvo’s had a “right to do to protect their property”.
Geelong council regularly removed “truckloads” of rubbish from the site, Mr Arnel said.
But the Salvo’s Aife O’Loughlin said staff and volunteers often arrived early to clean the mess and make sure the store could open on time.
“It would nice if they didn’t have to,” she said.
“We can’t just leave the goods there. We have an obligation to make sure it’s clean and safe for the people who are shopping.”
The store was worst-affected by illegal dumping of the Salvos’ outlets in Geelong, most likely due to it being large and in an industrial area, she said.
“The vast majority of that’s people who are trying to donate and think they are doing a good thing.”
But dirt, grime and weather damage rendered most of the goods unsellable, costing the Salvos thousands instead of supporting its community programs, she said.
“The donation isn’t used in the way the donor is looking for it to be.”
The Salvos still had to pay for a portion of the clean-up, Ms O’Loughlin said.
“We have to pay tip fees the same as everyone else.”
She urged locals to donate items during the store’s opening hours of 9am to 5.30pm Monday to Wednesday, 9am to 7pm Thursday and Friday and 9am to 5pm Saturday to avoid wastage.
“And we do offer a free home collection service. So it never has to be left outside after hours.”