THE Mornington Park precinct was marred by rubbish after the hot weekend and looked like a Third World country, says resident Paul Smith.
Mr Smith and former chamber of commerce president Scott Crowe are “citizen cleaners” who pick up rubbish in the precinct during regular morning and evening walks.
The pair has been calling for improved rubbish collection for several years.
“At 8pm on Sunday I visited the precinct while walking my dog. The whole area was absolutely disgusting, littered with rubbish and picnic waste everywhere,” Mr Smith said.
“Rubbish bins where overflowing in Mornington Park, the Mothers Beach picnic area, and the boat hire picnic area.”
Mr Smith complained to Briars Ward councillors Anne Shaw and Andrew Dixon in an email sent on Sunday.
“Councillors, it is clearly obvious that the shire staff responsible for overseeing the placement of sufficient bins for the summers season have failed miserably (yet again), leaving our iconic tourist area to be destroyed visually by all those who visited the area on Sunday in particularly and other days over the past two weeks,” he wrote.
“The users of the area cannot be blamed if there is insufficient ‘waste capacity’.
“Rubbish piled up against full bins obviously is a poor scenario at the best of times and with the stronger winds that prevailed during Sunday, this caused a particularly negative result.”
Mr Smith said more bins were urgently needed and they needed to be emptied more often.
He said rubbish in public parks was not just confined to Mornington. “It is a problem right down the Port Phillip side of the peninsula,” he said.
He called for an improved performance by shire officers and the council’s cleaning contractor.
“The reputation of Mornington is at stake – people are talking about how unkempt and dirty the place is, locals and visitors alike.”
New mayor Cr Lynn Bowden said the shire had hired extra staff, part of “High Visibility Clean Teams”.
“The teams are providing cleaning services over and above the shire’s usual practices,” Cr Bowden said.
This included “increased street and footpath sweeping, bin emptying and cleaning, toilet cleaning and litter collection”.
The additional services would ensure that busier locations across the shire were well maintained especially during the holiday season, she said.
Clean teams had been deployed in Sorrento, Rye, Mornington, Rosebud, Dromana and Hastings on weekends, and services would increase to daily from 20 December.
“Daily services in Blairgowrie, Portsea, Mt Martha, Rosebud West and McCrae starts from 20 December.”
Mr Smith said the clean teams “have been doing a good job in the retail area, but seemingly are failing in the Mornington Park precinct. Manpower verses volume of waste cannot compete”.
He said a national anti-litter education program was needed.
“A generation of people have grown up not caring about littering,” he said.
n Keep Australia Beautiful (Victoria) was formed in Melbourne in 1969 by Dame Phyllis Frost.
To report cleaning or maintenance problems, contact the shire on 1300 850 600.