Magnetic Island North Queensland
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A young koala's beach adventure

October 14th 2009
“The right height to cut your head off”

Graham Bennetts and Pat Bolger with the rope While suspected arson at the Picnic Bay Waste Dump has featured twice this year following two large fires, there are other dangers for the operator which can be alleviated by members of the public using a little common sense. Recently, a length of heavy duty rope was left in a pile of mulch and when it was fed into the mulcher you wouldn't have wanted to be nearby.

No damage occurred to the mulcher after the rope went inside but, clearly concerned for his own safety and that of his staff, owner, Patrick Bolger, said, “It swung out of the machine at just the right height to cut your head off.”

Pat and his offsider Graham Bennetts operate the big mulcher by continually checking gauges on the side of the machine. But ,when the rope went in amongst the 2000 RPM spinning barrels' 28 big hammers, an end flew out and smashed the 5mm thick perspex cover to the guages.

“I was just lucky I'd walked away. I'd just pulled some other rubbish out,” said Pat Bolger.

“My main concern is for the safety of my staff.”

Pat doesn't think the rope was left deliberately in the pile but is constantly removing foreign objects from the “green” waste.

“People think it's out of sight, out of mind but they need to know the implications and repercussions of mixing foreign material with the mulch.”

“Green waste is just green waste. That's all it is”

To add your comment,
or read those of others, see below

“The right height to cut your head off”
Tim Norman
October 15th 2009
Maybe people would be more inclined to check what they were delivering in their green waste if they didn't have to pay for the privilege of supplying it to a private company that then on sells it for a profit.
October 16th 2009
Actually Tim Norman, your ignorance of the current and pre-existing commercial arrangements at the green waste dump is appalling. All householders are issued with Council tickets which allow them to deliver at least three ute or trailer loads of green waste for free (and then they pay a pittance) and, if they want, to help themselves to unlimited hand-loaded quantities of processed garden mulch - free of charge. That's not a bad deal considering the whole package was called a 'user-pays' system and most of the users actually pay nothing.
Commercial operators like me (and you maybe) pay the Townsville Council to take green waste off our hands. The Council puts all the green waste in the hands of a contractor - as it has always done. Haven't you noticed that for the past 5-10 years a contractor has processed the pile of green waste for a fee paid by the Townsville Council. Did you think the contractor did this as a love-job for the poor and downtrodden residents of Magnetic Island?
Do you think commercial operators should be able to dump green waste for nothing? The Council's price list, recently revised, is on the sign at the front gate - as it has been for at least two years. I (for one) have a vested interest in the quality and 'cleanness' of the green waste coming in because I pay a lot of money (although it's about half the mainland price) to buy processed garden mulch from the contractor which I do not want contaminated with crap like plastic bags, poly pipe and broken glass.
Are you suggesting that people should be paid to clean up their own waste before they take it to the Council green waste dump?
If you personally, are a private operator delivering a commercial service for nothing (let alone for a profit), make yourself known. You could go a long way.
October 20th 2009
Is Tim saying that people don't care if their actions are putting someone at risk? I hope for all our sakes he is not. Where could that attitude end?
Tim Norman
October 20th 2009

I am not a commercial operator and NO I do not think that commercial operators or private individuals should have to pay to dump green waste that is recycled.

As a commercial operator you would be well aware how much green waste is generated by the many palms and tropical plants that inhabit the island.

One only has to travel the back streets of the island to see the numerous 'stacks' of green waste that are regularly left for weeks and months on nature strips and vacant blocks.Further, as there are a vast number of rental properties on the island many landlords or real estate agencies have failed to pass on the council tickets to renters and they then have to pay the council tip fees anyway.

The 'stacks' of green waste lying around the island could well be considered a potential fire hazard and the sooner they are taken to the green waste dump the better.

Personally I would prefer residents to use their council dump tickets (residents are issued 6/yr and they do not stipulate whether they are for green waste or household waste)to remove the vast amount of household waste that could be deemed a hazard in cyclonic conditions.

Over the last three years I have had delivered 40 truck loads (6 cubic mtrs/truckload)by a commercial operator and I would pull out at least 3 wheelbarrow loads of plastics and poly pipe per truckload so obviously the system isnt working.

As you state, you pay to dump the green waste and then pay the contractor for the processed product
even though the contractor has already been paid by council.I believe thats known as 'double dipping'.

I am not suggesting that people be paid to ensure that their green waste only contains green waste but lets face the fact, there are a large majority of Queenslanders who are either not smart enough or are to lazy to determine the difference between green waste or household waste.'Queensland- the Smart state'is one of the most hypocritical statements ever made.

Lastly Chasmac I have noticed you comment on many different topics in the Magnetic Times and one wonders why you choose to hide behind a pseudonym instead of putting you real name to the comments you make.
Peter F. Hughes
October 21st 2009
Leave Charlie alone.
His actions speak as loud as his words.
Your statement Tim, 'but lets face the fact, there are a large majority of Queenslanders who are either not smart enough or are to lazy to determine the difference between green waste or household waste.' could only come from a non-Queenslander hiding there.
My personal observations in Victoria are that Victorians don't have any idea how to manage their green waste systems and could take a leaf (pardon the pun) from the systems employed on Magneticus Fantasticus.
God I miss the island but I certainly don't miss people like you.
Peter F. Hughes
Lorne, Vico
Tim Norman
October 21st 2009

Yes I am suggesting that a lot of people obviously dont care, but sadly that seems to be an attitude found in all levels of today's society.

The real question though should be, what kind of business is Mr Bolger running where he is unable to ensure the safety of himself and/or his employees while operating around this machinery.Maybe WorkCover need to audit his business and advise him of proper safety procedures in relation to his type of business.
October 21st 2009
The real question should be - would you buy mulch at all if you had to pay the real cost of making it? We all pay absolute peanuts for the easy convenience of having our household waste taken off our hands. We grow whatever we like in our gardens and hope that Council will pick up stuff from our front gate, take it to the tip and bring back Council truckloads of subsidised recycled materials.
Meanwhile we expect mainland Townsville ratepayers to continue subsidising Magnetic Island's infrastructure (remember the millions for sewerage treatment and new water reticulation?) and still we want more for less....or nothing if we can get it.
It's got nothing to do with Workcover.
Tim Norman
November 1st 2009
Mr Hughes,
What you may not have noticed is that NO other state or territory has the audacity or arrogance to openly state that they are 'The Smart State' while then acting so stupidly in relation to a host of issues.
If Queensland is 'The Smart State',are they not to some degree infering that all the other States are either 'dumb'or at least not as smart as they are?

Yes I would have paid the so-called 'True' cost of mulch AND yes we could have afforded to! Further we have spent the money and purchased a mechanical mulcher which is able to mulch All but the largest palm frongs,so therefore very little green material leaves this property.Anything that cannot be mulched on site is NOT left at the front gate for council pick up,BUT taken to the green dump by the owners.
November 2nd 2009
So Tim, after all that we have come full circle. In your first post you didn't want to 'pay for the privilege', now you are prepared to pay the 'true cost'.
Clean mulch is a valuable sustainable product. The foundation quality of the product is decided entirely by the quality and cleanness of the raw material. If we don't care about the extraneous crap we feed into the green waste stream then clearly we don't care much about anything at all - including each other. Sorting our own crap is the least we can do (and the least we can expect). It's not a big deal but there's a big benefit and we all get to share in it at a pretty low cost.

What do you think? Send us your comments.

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