City bike garbos welcome

CLEAN UP: Restauranteur Milton Mavromoustakos says city smells are turning away customers.

by Luke Voogt

Plans for bikes to collect rubbish in central Geelong could clean up “disgusting” laneway bins and dumpsters, according to a local restaurant owner.

Milton Mavromoustakos told the Indy this week the sight and smell of rubbish in on-street bins and dumpsters was costing laneway cafes and restaurants business.

“In summer sometimes we smell the rubbish when it’s hot – they look disgusting as well,” he said.

“Some people take advantage of other people’s rubbish bins too.”

Mr Mavromoustakos welcomed council plans for ‘cargo bikes’ to replace trucks collecting rubbish in a 12-month trial beginning at the end of the year.

“They do so many things to try to promote Little Malop St but they don’t do things to clean up this disgraceful situation,” he said.

“I’ve spoken to council representatives many times – something needs to do be done.”

The Indy last week reported at risk youth would collect rubbish from laneway businesses and take it two second-hand compactors on Shorts Pl during the trail.

Mr Mavromoustakos currently paid a private company about $3600 a year to collect rubbish from a courtyard on his property, he said.

He said he was happy to sign up to the bike service for $3000 but was sceptical about the trial.

“First I want them to prove that they’re going to do it.”

The service will cost $3000 a year for food and drink businesses, $2400 for takeaways, $1800 for non-food shops and $1200 for offices, according to council.

City Hall was aiming to recover $114,000 of the trial’s $167,000 cost, economy director Brett Luxford said.

“With a flat rate being proposed, some businesses may pay considerably less than their current waste and recycling charges, while others may pay more.”

The trial was optional and the service could replace business’s existing waste collection services, Mr Luxford said.

A recent council survey of laneway businesses found nine per cent paid more than $3600 per year for their rubbish collection.

Twenty-seven per cent paid between $1200 and $3600 and 42 per cent paid less than $1200, according to the survey.

The service would alleviate the need for businesses to store large bins and would make the “developing” laneways precinct a more attractive destination, Mr Luxford said.

City Hall hoped to build market confidence in the service and encourage the private sector to take over it after the trial, he said.

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