BINS ARE BURNIN
By EMMA CORNFORD
EACH week, wheelie bins around the Clarence Valley are stolen, vandalised or set on fire.
Manager of the Emporium in South Grafton, Annie Dodd, is one business owner who is sick of losing bins to vandals. To curb the problem, she has suggested changing the bin collection day in the area.
"If your business isn't open on a Sunday then you have to put the bins out on Saturday afternoon for a Monday morning collection and that increases the risk of them being set on fire," she said.
"We have another collection day on a Thursday, but that's just for rubbish, so recycling always has to be put out on a weekend. I can't say I was thrilled about finding the last (bins) burnt ? the only good thing is that you don't ever have to clean them because they get set on fire first."
Ms Dodd said leaving bins out for an entire weekend also posed a fire risk to buildings and made South Grafton's Skinner Street look unattractive to visitors.
"They want to get tourists through, but when people come down for a look all they can see is bins out on the main street and it really doesn't look very good for the area," she said.
Phil Baynham, Clarence Valley area manager of JR Richards and Sons, the company which collects garbage in the Valley, said there were no plans to change collection times.
"We've been over it with the council to try and come up with ideas to stop the vandals, but with the number of bins we lose, it's just not feasible at the moment," he said.
"To be honest, we get more bins stolen than burnt ... but if vandals want to burn bins then that's what they'll do, whether they're out on the street or in a yard."
Grafton Fire Brigade captain Greg McLennan agreed that changing bin night would not have a large impact on the problem.
"To be honest, I don't think it would make a huge difference because we get bin calls any night of the week," he said.
"The biggest problem we have is people, especially people living in units, placing their bins too close together."
Cpt McLennan said residents should ensure they place their bins at least a metre apart.
"Radiant heat travels so if they are closer than a metre then the next bin can easily catch on fire. They might end up encroaching on their neighbour's yard a bit, but it will help stop whole banks of bins going up. The main thing is to be vigilant."