Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Our street was 'swept' yesterday, swept

by one of those noisy monsters with four wheels for paws and a circular brush for a tail. It does not do a very good job. There is a council worker who sits inside (on the wrong side at that) and drives this monster around the streets about once every six months.
I have no doubt that the monster was expensive to buy and is expensive to feed and groom. I can only assume that it was deemed to be cheaper than employing someone to actually sweep the streets. It is certainly not more efficient.
It is supposed to sweep the gutters free of debris so that rain water can flow down the drains. Leaves in plenty are left behind. There is still broken glass in the roadways and on the footpaths. (It is a Friday and Saturday night ritual of bored youths to shatter their empty beer bottles in the places likely to cause the most harm to cyclists, gopher riders and pedestrians.) Other rubbish may or may not get sucked up. It depends on what it is. The monster has to avoid parked cars - and thus the gutter adjacent to the parked cars. That portion simply does not get swept.
I was leaving as the monster worked its way along the street. The driver barely missed the smart new car parked across the street. When he reached the end of the street he stopped and, contrary to all rules and regulations, lit a cigarette.
I pedalled off thinking that it might be more efficient to employ people to do the job with an old-fashioned broom. Rubbish could be sorted, drink cans could be recycled, glass could be removed, leaves could be composted. We are far too short of worthwhile employment for people without academic qualifications. Instead of paying them unemployment benefits or a disability pension perhaps they could be employed as "Street Maintenance Engineers". It would cost very little extra - and a whole lot less.


Donna Hosie said...

It would cost a lot more to pay people to sweep because a machine can cover a huge area in one day.

The costs of extra employment would then mean rates would go up and voters would start complaining.

I'm afraid I'm with the council on this one.

catdownunder said...

Not sure I agree Donna - one of my neighbours (who is a council-bothering accountant) did some homework and reckons the job would be better done at about the same overall speed and for about the same cost if it was done manually as a minimum wage job.