Just as night follows day, for several years this masthead has repeatedly thrown the ugly spectre of illegal dumping into sharp relief, along with all the usual rejoinders: resident outrage, shifting blame, and renewed pressure on council to review its position on hard rubbish collection.
Like neighbouring Hepburn and Moorabool shire councils, City of Ballarat has long resisted calls to offer general kerbside hard waste collection.
In the result, most residents in Ballarat currently dispose of their hard waste items at the city's transfer station in Alfredton, where they can expect to pay up to $69.50 per cubic square metre - a fee which has almost doubled since 2015 - assuming they have already used their two annual tip vouchers.
The rest surreptitiously dump their hard waste in parks, nearby state forests, outside charity shops and even into waterways, including the Yarrowee River.
Citing this, Ballarat Residents and Ratepayers Association president Bruce Crawford said there was a growing chorus of community calls for a different approach to hard rubbish disposal.
"There is a strong feeling in the community for something like kerbside hard rubbish collection to be introduced - that's the feedback I get," he said.
"It would be worth addressing if only to stop some of the [illegal] dumping.
"Of course, there's always idiots out there who have no regard for anyone else, so you're not going to be able to stop illegal dumping completely. The only alternative is for council to address its tip fees."
Mr Crawford added that there existed ways to ensure kerbside hard rubbish collection was cost-effective from a ratepayer's point of view, noting that the total costs attached to illegal dumping were unclear.
"[Hard rubbish collection] could be done on a demand basis where residents book in for collection," he said - an approach similar to that successfully adopted by City of Sydney council, where residents can book a free collection for their hard rubbish.
"Or, [council could arrange for it at] certain times of the year in different areas."
Noting council is due to revise its current four-year waste management strategy, which expires at the year's end, City of Ballarat chief executive Evan King said council would reconsider the viability of introducing kerbside hard rubbish collection.
"We quite often get calls for hard waste collection, so we certainly want to revisit that and look at the economics of that," he said.
"We'd need to look at the pros and cons, the costs to residents and then consider the best way forward. Of course, I can't make promises one way or the other at this stage."
Pointing to the Victorian government's recent push to offer all households four separate streams for waste and recycling disposal - comprising glass, food organics and garden organics, mixed recyclables and household rubbish - Mr King added that council's approach to glass recycling and organic waste would also be reviewed.
"Obviously, with the circular economy policy of the state government coming in, we need to consider glass and organic waste as well," he said. "So, we'll take the opportunity to look at waste collection in all its forms and how it's performing."
Under the Victorian government's four stream collection policy, residents could end up with four colour-coded bins for each category of waste, depending on council's preferences, which might conversely favour the use of drop-off points or the transfer station instead.
Mr Crawford said the preference of residents, however, would likely be for uniform kerbside collection, given the ease and convenience it would conceivably afford most residents.
"Like many people, I'm busy and often throw my glass into the general rubbish bin because there's no collection," he said. "But if there was separate glass collection, I would definitely take the time to use it."
"Given all the money council wastes on some things," he added, "I wouldn't mind if some of my rates went into [collection] generally, especially if it encourages recycling and helps the environment."
"That's me personally, but I know people feel pretty similar."
Council's review of its waste management policy will commence later this year.
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