John Russell already does his bit by taking his bin to the other side of the street so it can be emptied.
John Russell already does his bit by taking his bin to the other side of the street so it can be emptied. Chris Ison Rokcbin

Why did the bin cross the road?

FOR as long as anyone can remember, refuse bins have been collected from the kerbs on both sides of Rose St in Koongal. But not any more.

Residents who live on the right-hand side of the one-way street are to be told that in future they will have to take their bins across the road because of health and safety problems.

And it's the same for people who live on the "wrong" side of Painswick St in North Rockhampton, Pilkington and Harbourne sts in Koongal, Bowen St on The Range and parts of Quay Lane in the CBD.

The issue, as shocked councillors were told this week, is that all the collection trucks now operating in the city are single-operator vehicles which can only pick up and empty bins on the left side.

And officials say that for drivers to move the bins from the right-hand side of the street to the left, and return them once they're empty, carries an unacceptable level of risk.

Strategic manager Craig Dunglison told councillors the changes he proposed were common practice across Australia in one-way streets and that Workplace Health and Safety officers had ruled that employees couldn't continue to do the work because it was "too repetitive".

Cr Tony Williams said he wasn't happy that residents would be ordered to pull their rubbish to the appropriate side of the road and wondered if the people who were being asked to do extra work should get some kind of financial subsidy.

But if residents are as public spirited as John Russell, it won't cause much fuss. John, who lives in Rose St, said he always wheeled his bins across the street.

"They have some poor chap who runs up the street to wheel bins to the other side and then when they have been emptied he runs down the street to take them back.

"It's no problem for me. It's about eight steps from one side to the other but I imagine some people will complain."

In nearby Harbourne St, one resident who asked not to be named said while he didn't have a problem with being asked to haul his bins he couldn't see why the council had identified the current system as a safety hazard.

"I reckon we have the best bin men in Rocky. They do such a good job, hopping out of the truck to shift the bins. These are quiet streets and the bins are emptied really early when there's not traffic about," he said.



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