Sunday, March 20, 2016

Some residents upset at council ban on its cleaners using mops and buckets on floorboards

Kingston Council in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, has upset some elderly residents after banning its cleaners from using mops and buckets in homes with floorboards, for fear of causing “possible water damage.” The council said that following “expert advice” cleaners must now spritz from a bottle, angering some seniors.

The drop-the-bucket edict was given to council cleaners earlier this year but now residents, many in their 80s, are claiming their homes are being left dirty. Moorabbin resident Tatiana Goloub said the policy was “outrageous” and did not properly deliver the service council promised. “We get this service only once a fortnight so it’s important that they clean our house properly,” she said. The council says up to 3,000 elderly people living in Kingston rely on the mopping, vacuuming and cleaning it provides to continue living independently.

Ms Goloub, 77, called for a return to the old fashioned bucket method in her home, sending a signed statutory declaration to council seeking an exemption to the policy but it was shot down. “The cleaners need to take responsibility; we shouldn’t be disadvantaged because of their carelessness. The service is provided in my house I should be able to decided how it is cleaned.” 88-year-old Kevin Conway, who has floorboards throughout his home, said he was not troubled by the change. “I just ask the girls to put a bit of vinegar on the mop when they clean the floors.”

Community sustainability general manager Mauro Bolin said the change came about after concerns about “possible water damage” from residents. He could say how many complaints were received. He said council had acted on “expert” advice to change its policy. “Modern homes now have floating floorboards which experts advise should be cleaned avoiding or minimising the use of water. “Council is unable to provide an individual exemption on this issue due to safety concerns and potential damage to the home,” Mr Bolin said. The council continues to use mops and buckets on tiled floors at homes they clean.

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