The Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) has finally landed in the Nambucca Valley.
In the last few days, reverse vending machines (RVM) have been installed near the Macksville Tennis Courts.
But the Nambucca Heads site is still under a cloud of confusion with managers from both the Nambucca Plaza and the Nambucca Bowls Club angry that their establishments have been overlooked as sites to house the machines.
BACKGROUND READING:Crack a bottle, Valley to roll out RVMs
In fact, CEO of Nambucca Bowls Paul Coulton said he’d already registered his interest twice through the EPA website.
“We weren’t sure what the requirements were so we really wanted someone to contact us back so we could ask questions and see if it was a viable option for our business, as an extra service for the community,” Paul said.
“I mean, we’ve got the space for it.
“We did have discussions with Melinda Pavey’s office and they advised us to put another application in – which we did.”
But it’s been nearly 4 months since they first applied and they have yet to hear anything back.
“I was very disappointed that we weren’t approached formally about this,” Nambucca Plaza centre manager Steve Ryan said, who believes the machines would be a great benefit to the community if they were housed at the Plaza.
According to information provided to Michael Coulter by RVM tender-winner TOMRA, IGA was contacted to see if they were interested in housing the kiosks and participating in the scheme, but for whatever reason they declined.
“Apparently a precondition for a shopping centre location is that a supermarket has to agree to being the recipient of vouchers issued by the RVM,” Mr Coulter said.
“I was told they had looked at both Woolworths supermarkets and the Plaza. I have no problems if other sites, whether it be the Bowls club or others want to put themselves forward.
“I only ever saw the council’s role as a last resort facilitator to ensure our residents have a reasonable opportunity to receive their container deposits.”
When Guardian News asked new IGA manager Matthew Price what he thought about being involved, he said that he would’ve gotten behind it personally, but that ultimately the decision wasn’t up to him.
The community isn’t all that happy with the sites that have been earmarked by council to station the kiosks either.
“Not Bellwood Park. The poor Lions guys have to clean that place up often, imagine if there was this there … I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t last long, unfortunately,” Karen Perkins said.
And Barbara Pittendrigh said while she loves the idea of the CDS, she said that the elderly and other people who don’t drive would be at a disadvantage if the RVMs were placed at either Coronation or Bellwood Parks.
Nambucca Plaza would be ideal, especially for a lot of the elderly in the two villages close by.Barbara Pittendrigh
Kim Quinton suggested that either the old derelict KFC or Maccas buildings should be knocked down to make way for the machines.
But without the landowners’ permission that option isn’t exactly viable either.
Maryann Craig said that no matter where Nambucca chooses to house the RVMs, they should be out of the public eye.
“The issue is the mess people leave behind: carboard boxes, plastic bags, bottles not eligible. I have been to the Hoey Moey carpark [in Coffs] and sometimes the mess is disgusting!” she said.
While Barbara Anderson said that there have been quite a few teething issues with the machines in South Grafton – apparently they were out of service for weeks because they couldn’t keep up with demand.
Perhaps after our four-month wait here in the Nambucca, all those issues have been ironed out.
One can only hope.
TOMRA has been contacted for comment but, at the time of publishing, Guardian News is yet to receive a response.