Street Cleaning (24-2-1(3))

Report dated 2 May 2001 from the Director, Public Works & Services.

Recommended: That Council

  1. Receive and note this report and endorse the immediate actions outlined.
  2. Endorse the establishment of a Public Place Management Group and nominate two Councillors to assist in the review of service specifications. Notes that this Group will prepare a Public Place Management Plan to be presented to the Council in August 2001.

Introduction

At the Council Meeting of 27 February 2001 it was resolved to undertake reviews of the Public Place Maintenance, Cleansing and Regulatory services. These resolutions resulted from complaints made to the Mayor’s Office, Councillors, Council and commentary in the media in the period December 2000 to March 2001.

Anecdotally, this was a result of problems caused by unexpectedly larger crowds visiting Bondi and Bronte Beaches over the Christmas New Year period and ongoing concerns related to illegal dumping and littering.

The Executive Team and key staff met to examine the problems as reported and to implement short term solutions in readiness for next summer and to assign those issues which were more complex to a strategic planning process which will develop solutions for next summer. The desired outcome of that process is to improve the maintenance of these significant public places by efficient and effective use of resources and programs.

The short term actions have been addressed within the proposed 2001/02 budget and organisational structure. These are listed in Appendix A.

Overview of Current Arrangements and Problems

The five distinct work types in public place cleansing are:

  1. Street Cleaning and Litter Bin Servicing
  2. Nature strip maintenance (grass mowing and weed control)
  3. Dumped Rubbish (illegal dumping) and littering
  4. Removal of waste from beaches and parks.

Street Cleaning and Litter Bin Servicing

The street cleaning operation is well documented, and includes specification of work to be performed, maps of daily mechanical sweeper routes, and day sheets used by the street cleaning supervisor to allocate staff. The staff are covered by an industrial agreement.

A number of years ago an evening litter bin servicing shift was introduced to meet increasing demand for coverage of peaks in litter generation at locations where visitation was growing e.g. Campbell Pde, Bondi Junction and Bronte. The measure has not met expectations in a number of areas.

With the completion of Stage One of the Campbell Parade Upgrading (approximately 7,500 square metres of paving), and the growing prominence of commercial areas, services have been altered and resources re-deployed to satisfy demands. This has resulted in the gradual reduction in attention to residential areas.

Much of the plant used in this area is in need of replacement due to age or may no longer be suited to the work. More staff on the ground may be what is called for in areas where extra litter collection is required.

Nature Strip Maintenance (Grass Mowing and Weed Control)

Nature strip mowing and maintenance continues to be a problem. The expectations of the community are not being met and it is unlikely that if we continue with our current approach there will be any sustainable improvement in the general appearance of the streetscape. Also, the verges are deteriorating by erosion and weed growth quite often as a result of rubbish dumping.

In January 1997, the service was transferred to the new Department of Public Works & Services as part of the organisational restructure to better align street maintenance and street cleaning activities. In 1997/98 the budget for this area was cut by 1/3 and gradually the service changed to complaints only rather than programmed maintenance.

Complaints are grouped geographically where possible to be more efficient however this may not always be achieved.

At the present time there are over 200 requests for nature strip mowing on CARS. With current staff arrangements we are normally able attend to 40 CARS requests per month.

Complaints regarding prominent weed growth are handled the same as verges. For example if Bronte Road is the problem staff will patrol that zone to cut the weeds only. Current non-chemical treatments are prohibitively expensive.

Weed growth in the road reserves has become a significant risk and environmental management issue. Waverley is not the only local government area where the problem is growing and unchecked by existing programs. To assist in developing a control system I have enlisted the support of the University of Technology and the NSW Agricultural Department. The outcome of the project will be reported to Council.

 

Dumped Rubbish

The recent approach to the management of illegal dumping, with the integrated use of education, enforcement and timely cleanup of dumped rubbish is proving to be sound.

A dedicated officer was recently employed with the assistance of the Southern Sydney Waste Board. The proposal for that Grant is attached at Appendix C and provides a more detailed explanation of the strategy.

The statistics for the first month of this approach are astounding with over 400 incidents of dump rubbish, 43.9 tonnes collected and over $3000 in infringement notices issued. The level of complaints in this area has dropped dramatically. A further application has been made to enhance this strategy. Council will also participate on the Board’s Regional Illegal Dumping Taskforce.

 

Removal of waste from beaches and parks.

There are a number of occasions during the year when there is a large influx of visitors to our beaches. The period between Christmas and New Year’s day can be very intense.

During these periods there is demand for additional services to be provided by Council yet there is no additional income generated to fund the additional demand on Council's resources.

The graph at Attachment B illustrates the mismatch between the time when Council staff are working and the crowd size and rubbish generation patterns.

These peaks in demand need to be modelled and staff rostered accordingly. Cross servicing between Departments may be a more efficient means than extending working hours of existing staff.

Condition of Infrastructure

There is a common view that the physical and visual quality and management of our streetscapes contributes greatly to the communities’ assessment of the ‘cleanliness’ of an area. Examples of this are graffiti, vandalism, TCD maintenance and poor footpath condition.

Infrastructure maintenance is not addressed in any greater detail at this time.

Current Service Standards

The Management Plan and the Local Waste Management Plan describe service levels. At the present time there are inconsistencies between the Management Plan, the Local Waste Management Plan, service standards on CARS and Industrial Agreements.

An inconsistency exists in the published service standard and possibly a lack of a clear understanding of the service expectation of Councillors and the public can make the task of assessing and measuring performance difficult.

The Organisation will need to gain agreement from Council as to the service standards required and the resources that are made available to meet them.

It is unlikely, that current expectations, from the Management Plan, such as fortnightly cleaning of residential roads and footpaths, mowing nature strips within three weeks of residence requests or removal of dumped rubbish within three days, can be achieved within resources allocated. In the broadest of terms the Department expends $1.50 to $2.00 per residence, per week to deliver the services outlined in the Management Plan. By current practice this is not achievable, we need to develop a range of solutions to ensure that the community and Council’s reasonable expectations are met.

Need for Strategic Approach

The reported problems with the management of public places have developed over a number of years. The gap been community expectations and the ability to meet these has grown to point where we need to step back and review the services provided, the funding available and the constraints on Council which prevent it from providing an excellent service.

A number of longer term strategic actions may need to be taken to improve the service or at least to ensure the problems reported over the summer period do not occur again. A multi department task force or working party should be formed to undertake this review process and report back to Council. I will be responsible for the management of the process and delivering the outcomes.

It is proposed that the Public Place Management Group consist of:

Key tasks to be undertaken by the Public Place Management Group:

The output of the Group will be a Management Plan which will outline the future strategies, funding and specification of Public Place Cleansing and Management for the next 3 years.

It is anticipated that the complete strategic planning process will take several months, with progress reports submitted to Council and the Plan submitted to Council in August for inclusion in the first quarter review of the 2001/02 Budget if necessary and as an input to the preparation of the 2002/03 Forward Estimates. Any actions with a clear, positive impact on Summer 2001/2002 will need to be programmed at this time.

The Draft Budget 2001/2002 allocates an amount of $90,000 to enhance street cleansing in problem areas and ET has given this issue high priority for additional funding if necessary at the first quarterly review.

Conclusions

  

The immediate actions outlined in this report will overcome a number of the problems with Public Place Management in the short term. It is estimated that the additional cost to Council to continue to use these short-term solutions over the 2001 2002 summer period will be met within the Draft Budget.

This report outlines a process to develop a Public Place Management Plan which will define the service levels and funding requirements to improve the quality of the public domain.

 

Recommended: That Council

1. Receive and note this report and endorse the short term actions outlined.

2. Endorse the establishment of a Public Place Management Group and nominate two Councilors to assist in the review of service specifications. Notes that this Group will prepare a Public Place Management Plan to be presented to the Council in August 2001.

 

 

Paul F Andersen

Director Public Works & Services

 

APPENDIX A

Reported Problem and Immediate Action

 

Problem as Reported Comment Proposed Action
Overflowing bins:    
On Campbell Pde PM litter bin collection shift misses evening demand in warmer months. Staff advise fourth collection required Examine the effectiveness of night shift operation and modify programming of work.
Problem is notable in Roscoe to Curlewis Sts ‘take away’ strip. Work with shop proprietors to enlist their greater participation in clean up.
In Bondi and Bronte Parks Additional bins may be required particularly to encourage recycling Work with BIEC trial to install recycling stations.
Existing staff roster misses evening demand. No staff in Parks after 4pm. Examine roster and spread of hours to cover peaks.
  Waste generated by large events compounds littering in the Parks. Ensure that a representative of Waste Services has early and direct involvement in event organisation.
Leased footpath areas of Campbell Pde looking untidy Commercial waste stacked near restaurant spaces. Domestic MGBs not brought in after collection Use of Education/Enforcement Strategy to control presentation of materials for collection.
  Some proprietors sweeping their litter to outside areas Enforce Terms of Lease and Development Consent Conditions. Where these are deficient modify the arrangements.
BJ Mall dirty in afternoon on weekends. Woollahra Council provides afternoon service under terms of Cleansing Agreement. Need to review the effectiveness of the cross council agreement and renegotiate it with Woollahra.
Staff levels at Bronte Park couldn’t handle cleaning or toilet cleaning requirements Only 1 park’s staff rostered on Christmas Day.

Staff levels generally down due to additional annual leave being taken to reduce back ups.

Roster extra staff at peak times

From December to end February, two Beach staff will work between 3.00pm and 7.00pm to remove rubbish bins for additional bin pickup service.

Waste Services will provide an additional 6.00pm bin pickup service at request of Parks staff.

Dumped rubbish not picked up fast enough Previous arrangement relied on CARS. Illegal dumping only removed after reporting and investigation. An education/enforcement strategy employing a dedicated officer commenced in February 2001. Practical effect is all illegal dumps are picked by Friday afternoon in the week that they are reported.

Continue with the integrated approach of education, enforcement and timely collection

Monitor and report progress on a monthly basis.

Integrate SSWB "Illegal Dumping and Littering Strategy".

Nature strips continually overgrown Nature strip mowing not coordinated with street cleaning or parks mowing Need to review and redefine service standards and set new work priority system prior to growing season. Effective cross service planning will be structured.
  Budget was under spent for the period due to leave and vacant positions.

Contractors were unavailable at times of peak demand.

Greater monitoring of expenditure

This should have been used to:

  • Fund overtime,
  • Pay parks staff to assist with backlog,
  • Engage contractors or casuals to meet peak demand e.g. February /March on a fixed annual contract.
  • Set new work priority system as per attachment A.
Street cleaners no longer follow recycling routes therefore mess left behind and not cleaned up Gradual disalignment of waste services as recycling has become more prominent. Examine as part of roll out of Local Waste Plan.

Better presentation of recycling.

Review of work done compared with documented work plans or specifications.

Continuation of the education/enforcement strategy.

Integrate outcomes from Stormwater Trust (Round 3) Bronte Catchment Project.

Why won’t street sweepers pull out weeds Weeding currently assigned to Naturestrip Mowing Teams.

Currently considered to be a significant problem in the LGAs.

University of Technology Sydney and NSW Dept of Agriculture engaged to assist in developing an effective response.
Not enough regulatory officers rostered at peak times Officers never previously rostered on Christmas Day or Good Friday.

Staff vacancies and annual leave left service without sufficient resources

Investigate options to increase rangers presence during peak periods

A minimum of two rangers will be on duty on Good Friday and Christmas Day

Parking regulation at Bronte inadequate, especially disabled spots   Parking regulation at Bronte will be improved with rangers patrolling the area twice per day, especially the disable spaces.

The parking patrol will take over all paring enforcement form the 1st July 2001, when a new parking management scheme should be in place for Bronte/Tamarama basin.

Law and Order problems in Bronte Park related to alcohol. Council does not discourage responsible consumption of alcohol of adults enjoying the park. Existing signage will be improved and the local Beat Police help with discretionary enforcement of the prohibition.
Dogs at Coastal Reserves Uncontrolled animals Lifeguards and Parks staff have commenced assisting rangers with the identification of dogs illegally in their areas and fines will be issued
Overnight camping in Coastal Reserves /car parks Instances of camping overnight. No signs are erected at Ben Buckler carpark and Marks Park Erect signs prohibiting overnight camping. Police and Rangers to assist each other enforcing control.

APPENDIX B Maximum Rubbish

Maximum Crowd

Problem Times
(perceptions)

Parks Staff Present

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3am 6am 9am 12noon 3pm 4pm 6pm 9pm 12midnight 3am

APPENDIX C

Extract from Submission to Southern Sydney Waste Board

 

Proposal for an Education / Enforcement Officer

Background Information

The Waverley Local Government area is the most densely populated portion of the Sydney region with 6,585 persons/square kilometre. A significant proportion of the residential population are short term residents. 71% of the local government area is occupied by residential development, predominantly older apartment buildings situated in narrow streets without resident off-street parking facilities or waste storage facilities.

In addition to the dense population, the area includes the popular surfing beaches of Bondi, Bronte and Tamarama, which can attract over 50,000 day visitors during the summer swimming season.

Sydney hosting the 2000 Olympic games has resulted in Waverley being the only metropolitan council outside the Homebush venue to have two major events staged within its area. Beach Volleyball is to be held within a purpose built 10,000 seat temporary stadium at Bondi Beach and Road Cycling Racing is to be held within the Bronte Beach area.

The population in its nature and density, together with the varied type of residential development creates unique waste management collection difficulties within our area. These factors require Council to be adaptive and flexible in meeting the needs of the area. Rubbish dumping within the Waverley Local Government area is a significant problem with over 200 incidents occurring each month.

With increased emphasis on recycling and the introduction of a variety of collection containers, an additional problem of waste containers littering footpaths has occurred due to resident and commercial premise failure to return them to within properties after servicing. The problem is becoming acute within commercial areas, particularly Bondi beach area where dense residential accommodation is mixed throughout the commercial zone.

The incidents of dumped garbage are also high in rental areas as resident move into, around and out of the area.

The increasing level of complaints concerning waste containers being left on streets within commercial areas and the on-going problems associated with rubbish dumping, together with the expected demands to be created by Olympic servicing, requires Council to be more proactive in its control of these matters. The recent passing of the POEO legislation appears to offer a greater level of legal assistance than previously existed and warrants Council making a concentrated effort to address the identified waste management problems.

Aim

The aim of the proposal is to enable Council to provide a dedicated Education/Enforcement Officer concentrating on informing and policing correct waste management practices within known troublesome areas.

Councils within the Western Suburbs of Sydney have successfully introduced regional dumping squads focusing on illegal waste disposal. A similar approach will be implemented within Waverley with the focus being on waste presentation, recycling presentation, return of containers to premises and rubbish dumping. The emphasis will be on:

The ability to provide an educational/enforcement presence within known troublesome areas is expected to achieve:

 

Meet Criteria of the Local Waste Management Plan

The issue of dumped garbage is addressed in the Local Waste Management Plan within the education recommendations and action plan.

There are 2 key recommendations within the Local Waste Management Plan that are addressed by this proposal. The first is that "council commence an education campaign involving real estate agents to target short term residents of multi-occupancy dwellings" (page 61). This position would foster key working relationships with the real estate agents in our area to ensure the impact of tenants moving into and out of the area is minimised.

The second link to the Local Waste Management Plan is the recommendations that Council should "undertake a large scale promotion of current services to discourage incorrect presentation of waste and illegal dumping".

The "Scoping paper for Illegal Dumping and Litter" developed by APrince Consulting for the Southern Sydney Waste Board highlights the need for establishing a RID Squad within the region or "alternatively, a ranger from each Council could be freed up from other duties to concentrate on illegal dumping issues only". Waverley Council is not able to free up an existing ranger however with the funding from the Levy Rebate we would be able to employ the additional resource.

 

Job Description

 

Budget:

This is based on the provision of an Education Enforcement Officer for a period of 1 year.

Expenditure Item for 1 year

Amount

Salary (including on-costs)

$ 46,905

Lease of Ute

$ 20,000

Mobile Phone

$ 2,000

Overtime Budget

$ 8,000

Total Expenditure

$ 76,905

 

Supervisor:

The Education Enforcement Officer would report directly to the Waste Services Manager, within the Public Works and Services department, working in conjunction with the Customer Service Officer/ Commercial Waste and Waste Education Officer. Supervisory time will be absorbed within existing operation expenditure.