Local Motel Owner Talks Trash

Local Motel Owner Talks Trash

Accusations were thrown around last week that University of Otago students are “living like pigs” and turning Dunedin into a “third world” city, following a problem with drunken students repeatedly knocking over rubbish bins put out for early collection. Alhambra Oaks Motor Lodge owner-operator Alan Kennedy voiced his concerns to the Otago Daily Times about the resulting unkempt state of the city, and called for the Dunedin City Council and Campus Watch to clean up the mess.

Critic spoke with Mr Kennedy, who said that while the litter situation was not affecting his business, it was affecting people’s impressions of Dunedin. Many patrons at the Motor Lodge had remarked on the sight. “Today it might be fine, but next week it might not.”

DCC Solid Waste Manager Ian Featherston told the ODT that the problem with keeping rubbish of the streets is not isolated to the student area, but is a citywide problem. He confirmed Mr Kennedy’s suggestion that keeping rubbish off the street until collection would “make life a lot easier”.

Critic wondered whether putting your wheelie bin out on Sunday, rather than disturbing the essential Monday morning sleep-in, really risked falling victim to mischief by students. Mr Kennedy assured us it did. “[Students are] definitely around on Sunday. Just because it’s Sunday doesn’t mean they have to stay at home in bed. I see students walking to the mall on Sundays all the time.”

The University and Campus Watch are working closely with the DCC to address the issue. A University spokesperson stated that distributing flyers, providing extra blue recycling bins for flats with surplus bottles, notifying the DCC when bins were overturned, and arranging skips at various student areas all helped to keep the problem in check. The spokesperson also remarked that “senior members of each Campus Watch team are warranted Litter Control Officers and they do have the power to issue fines.”

Notably, the ODT article was published at the tail-end of Re-O Week, when student rubbish outflow was expected to be at its peak due to the overflow of a week’s worth of empty liquor containers. The Critic Policy Team plans to propose to the DCC that a citywide rubbish-bin ban be instated in place of the citywide liquor ban, in order to tidily deal with two problems at once.
This article first appeared in Issue 17, 2012.
Posted 10:46am Sunday 22nd July 2012 by Claudia Herron.