Garbo Michael Roebuck tries to do the right thing by residents when picking up the bins in a new estate so narrow his truck doesn’t fit down the streets. Picture: John Grainger
Garbo Michael Roebuck tries to do the right thing by residents when picking up the bins in a new estate so narrow his truck doesn’t fit down the streets. Picture: John Grainger

What a stinker! New streets too narrow for garbos

THE houses are massive but the streets are narrow - and for residents of Penrith's new Thornton housing estate, that presents a real stinker of a problem.

The tight turns of the estate's lanes are preventing garbage trucks from doing what they should - collecting rubbish. In some of the streets, drivers must get down from their cabins and walk across the road to wheel bins back to the truck.

In others, residents are forced to haul their wheelie bins around the corner to another street just so the trucks can collect them.

So narrow is the bitumen, trucks have hit houses and garages, causing damage.

The problem in this estate and many others like it on the city's western outskirts has led the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) to appeal for help to a parliamentary inquiry investigating the state's housing supply. WSROC says that streets in many new housing estates are simply not wide enough to allow effective waste collection.

"There appears to be no consideration given to infrastructure required to collect waste from a household,'' WSROC told the inquiry.

 

Anne Marshall, 59, from Thornton, has to wheel her bins from Cannonball Lane to William Hart Crescent for them to be collected. Developers are building cramped housing estates with streets too narrow to fit garbage trucks. Picture: Jonathan Ng
Anne Marshall, 59, from Thornton, has to wheel her bins from Cannonball Lane to William Hart Crescent for them to be collected. Developers are building cramped housing estates with streets too narrow to fit garbage trucks. Picture: Jonathan Ng

 

"(This is) evident in narrow street widths that do not allow for waste collection trucks to access households, zero metre dwelling setbacks where bins are presented for collection in the roadway, new dwelling styles with no bin storage space and other collection impracticalities.''

WSROC chief executive Charles Casuscelli said the problems stemmed from state government trashing of council planning rules as it approved housing estates worth more than $20 million, saying: "The trucks can't turn around or fit inside the areas for the garbage bins.''

Thornton Estate in Penrith. Some of the new suburbs streets are simply too narrow for garbage collectors. Picture: Toby Zerna
Thornton Estate in Penrith. Some of the new suburbs streets are simply too narrow for garbage collectors. Picture: Toby Zerna

"Some of the laneways are so narrow that trucks are making five or six-point turns to turn around and the noise upsets the residents.''

At the 600-lot Thornton housing development next to Penrith train station, Penrith City Council has introduced "old-style runners" to collect bins and haul them to the truck. However, that's also a job Thornton Estate residents such as Anne Marshall (pictured) have been told to take on themselves.

Tight squeeze: Truck driver Michael Roebuck, who didn’t knock over this bin, tries to do the right thing by residents. Picture: John Grainger
Tight squeeze: Truck driver Michael Roebuck, who didn’t knock over this bin, tries to do the right thing by residents. Picture: John Grainger

Ms Marshall's house backs on to a laneway but because it is so narrow, she is not allowed to put her bins there and instead has to wheel them more than 100m to a side street. "The garbage truck can't get access to the laneway because of the cars and then some bins don't get collected and end up overflowing.

"The garbage truck wouldn't be able to manoeuvre itself around the corner in the laneways, the roads are so congested."

A spokesman for Planning Minister Anthony Roberts said it was the council's responsibility to ensure that garbage trucks could navigate the streets when they approved development applications.

Garbage truck driver Michael Roebuck tries to make his rounds of new housing estate Thornton Project in Penrith. Picture: John Grainger
Garbage truck driver Michael Roebuck tries to make his rounds of new housing estate Thornton Project in Penrith. Picture: John Grainger

"It's a matter for councils to ensure their garbage trucks fit on roads in a proposed development application," the spokesman said.

Garbage truck driver Michael Roebuck said only very skilled drivers were allowed to navigate the tight lanes of Thornton Estate.

He said some of the Suez Recycling trucks responsible for garbage collection had been banned from going down certain streets and it was impossible to turn the trucks in other places, with vehicles having to reverse and double back repeatedly to retrieve all the bins.

"It all takes time,'' he said.

Residents and garbage collectors are having problems with the narrow lanes in new housing estates such as the Thornton Project in Penrith. Picture: John Grainger
Residents and garbage collectors are having problems with the narrow lanes in new housing estates such as the Thornton Project in Penrith. Picture: John Grainger
Residents are forced to take their wheelie bins to the end of the street so they can be collected. Picture: Toby Zerna
Residents are forced to take their wheelie bins to the end of the street so they can be collected. Picture: Toby Zerna


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