Wood burning and power generation have been dumped from the second, and much bigger, waste processing and recycling hub proposed for Fyshwick.
Sydney-based construction products supplier and recycler Hi-Quality Group wants to build an Integrated Resource Recovery Facility at a 10-hectare site in Tennant Street near Domayne. The facility would process 1.1 million tonnes of waste a year, and its proponents are conducting a second round of consultation ahead of submitting an environmental impact study (EIS).
It had planned to burn 31,000 tonnes of clean wood waste a year, using the heat to generate electricity to power the facility and supply the grid, much like Capital Recycling Solutions’ original proposal for Ipswich Street.
CRS eventually dropped the plan after concerns from inner south residents about emissions and air quality. Its revised EIS is still being assessed and is yet to be handed to the Planning Minister, Mick Gentleman.
Inner South Canberra Community Council chair Marea Fatseas quizzed a company official during the first of three online sessions on Saturday. The official said the timber burning component, detailed in its scoping document, would no longer be part of its draft EIS.
The scoping document submitted to the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate last year proposed a multi-operational waste management hub that will receive, process, store and transfer commercial and industrial waste, construction and demolition material, liquids such as grease trap waste, drilling mud and oily water, wood, soil and asbestos.
The facility would also include a concrete pre-cast plant, a landscaped yard and a maintenance workshop.
Hi-Quality says the facility will increase the resource recovery ability of the ACT region and manufacture products from recyclable materials such as those used in road-making.
Ms Fatseas said the community would be relieved that the wood-burning option was off the table, especially after a bushfire season in which the issue of particulates had been heightened.
”We don’t want to be in a situation where our residents are facing potentially toxic particulates because of these permanent facilities,” she said.
Ms Fatseas said the community could still face health issues from on-site fires due to the amount of flammable material that would be stockpiled. The company said this would be addressed in the EIS.
But many questions remained about both proposals and the future direction of Fyshwick, Ms Fatseas said.
She said there were concerns the ACT would become a dumping ground for interstate waste, given the combined capacity of the CRS and Hi-Quality proposals was almost 1.5 million tonnes, far more than the entire ACT waste stream of a million tonnes, only a quarter of which went to landfill.
”Will they be taking business from existing players and introducing more competition?” Ms Fatseas asked. “I just don’t understand their business model unless they’re bringing a lot of stuff from outside.”
She said there was a danger that once the plants were established they would need to be continually fed to remain viable, with waste materials sourced from interstate.
Ms Fatseas is also worried about the possible effects on Fyshwick, which is mainly a bulky retail centre and has been attracting new, low-impact businesses to the area.
”It’s that question about the whole future of Fyshwick, given it’s the second-biggest economy in the ACT, and whether a heavy, more industrial direction is compatible with the other vision for that area,” she said.
Ms Fatseas said the government should be taking a more holistic approach to the two proposals and looking at the cumulative impact on the area, especially if there is planning for residential development in nearby East Lake.
She said it also came down to whether the community could trust Hi-Quality to fully meet environmental requirements in the ACT, particularly when it had a record of fines imposed by the NSW EPA for breaching regulations in that state.
The company said this would be addressed in the EIS.
”If we’re going to have players in this area we really need to know that the health impacts are going to be addressed and we’re not going to have toxic fires on a regular basis and that we’ve got players that have a good environmental record,” Ms Fatseas said.
The council would be pushing for an independent health study into both proposals.
Hi-Quality’s remaining online consultation session is set down for 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm on Thursday, 14 May. For details visit Hi-Quality Fyshwick.
The company was approached for comment.