"To help those people with affected residences in the Derwent Valley, the council is providing free entry on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 May to the Peppermint Hill Waste Disposal Site," a council spokesman said yesterday. "The following weekend Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 June will also be available should initial demand dictate the need."
People wishing to take up this offer will need to provide proof of residence in the Derwent Valley municipal area, such as a drivers licence or utility bill showing the residential address.
The offer of free disposal is only open to:
- material from residential properties located in the Derwent Valley Council municipal area
- severe weather affected/damaged materials
- storm or flood green waste
- residential quantities only
"Site operators will be on hand assess and assist as you enter and dispose of the materials," the council spokesman said.
The council's initial statement last Friday was strongly criticised by Councillor Paul Belcher who described the offer as too little, too late. "To say the least I'm very disappointed in the media release today from the council regarding free entry to the tip for flood-affected residents," Cr Belcher posted on Facebook on Saturday.
"The media release states that only one day will be free, that being next Sunday the 27th of May ... as a councillor I am a bit ashamed that we as a council have decided to make just one free day - in another week's time," Cr Belcher said, before offering to collect unwanted "tip tickets" to pass on to flood-affected Derwent Valley residents who were not eligible for the free tip entry.
On Monday the council issued an update to its media statement, providing free tip entry this Saturday as well as Sunday, and indicating the same offer may apply on the first weekend in June also. Despite extending the dates, the council did not extend the offer beyond "residential quantities".
At last week's monthly council meeting, general manager Greg Winton answered several questions from Cr Belcher about free dumping for flood-effected residents of the municipality. "I have received confirmation today, that subject to it being for a flood-effected residence, then the state would make a contribution to those disposal costs," Mr Winton said. "Do you want to pay for TasNetworks dumping debris in the councl's tip? I think the answer to that would be no," he said.
Cr Belcher was not satisfied with the response. "Are you telling me that the Derwent Valley Council in a natural disaster will not offer free tip without getting a subsidy from the State Government?" he said. Mr Winton said that was not what he said. "I said I would make the observation that that's what I had learned today that the state would be subsidising."
Both Cr Belcher and deputy mayor Ben Shaw said it would be important for the council to communicate its offer to affected residents. No other councillor spoke on the matter.