THE state planning department has recommended that a district bioreactor be allowed to more than double its waste intake.
In its assessment, the NSW Department of Planning says Veolia Environmental Services’ bid to increase waste receipt from 500,000 to 1.13 million tonnes a year is “in the public interest.”
It states the volume, destined for the Woodlawn bioreactor near Tarago, is acceptable from an environmental perspective, will help meet Sydney’s waste disposal capacity and is a “critical piece of infrastructure” to ensure the city’s landfill security.
At the same time, the Department has acknowledged that caps or limits placed on landfills were “ineffective” and should be scrapped.
“The caps are artificially restricting landfill capacity and are being lifted ad hoc because there is no suitable alternative to land filling,” the assessment states.
Sydney was running out of landfill capacity and resource recovery initiatives had not developed as quickly or effectively as expected.
While the Department is recommending approval with conditions, the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) will have the final say.
The application was referred to that body because it attracted more than 25 public submissions.
The PAC will sit at Tarago next Wednesday, giving all parties a chance to have their say.
Chaired by Dr Neil Shepherd and Joe Woodward, the Commission will sit from 9.30am at Tarago Hall. So far four speakers have registered.
Tarago district resident Peter Mullins has studied the planning reports. “In discussing the whole exercise, it’s as though the village of Tarago doesn’t exist,” he said.
“There is mention of the movement of trucks from the siding (Crisps Creek) and that’s it.
So in their mind trucks in the village are not an issue, nor are the odour and the extra trucks as a result of Main Road 92.
These things are not addressed.”
The government has received 34 objections from residents, mainly concerned about odour, road impact and public safety due to more trucks on the road.
Councils, including Goulburn Mulwaree and Palerang have not objected to the proposal, but raised the same issues. Both called for section 94 contributions to offset the impact.
The waste increase would mean an additional 10 two-way truck movements daily between Crisps Creek and the bioreactor.
Together with transport of regional waste via trucks on local roads, a total 54 two-way truck movements are predicted each day, a 145 per cent increase.
The number could be reduced with the company’s recent change to quad-axle trailers, allowing them to carry 51.5 tonnes rather than 45.5 tonnes per load.
Veolia says this will save 5000 return trips annually.
The Department has recommended the company pay the requested section 94 contributions to councils for road upgrades and that some regional routes be changed to lessen the impact.
Mr Mullins believed the community was “sufficiently upset” to have several speakers at Wednesday’s session, including himself.
He did not think the Commission was very well advised on the local impacts.
In its submission the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water stated that air emissions, odour, traffic noise impact and resource recovery issues had not been “satisfactorily addressed”.
Council’s acting general manager Chris Stewart expected some councillors, who had made personal submissions, to speak at Tuesday’s Commission sitting.
He was waiting to hear whether Council should also address this session or hold a separate meeting with the Commission.
A PAC spokesperson said the Commission would then compile a report based on the meeting, written submissions, the environmental assessment and the Department of Planning’s comments.
The report and a decision would be subsequently published on the PAC’s website.