Inner south community groups are pushing for the ACT Government to extend its waste facility ban in Fyshwick to cover the approved expansion to metal recycling in Lithgow Street, known as the “fragmentiser”.
Their umbrella organisation, the Inner South Canberra Community Council, has congratulated the government for its recently passed planning bill that banned new or expanded waste facilities in Fyshwick, which was aimed at the Capital Recycling Solutions garbage processing proposal in Ipswich street and Hi-Quality Group’s plans to greatly expand its building and industrial waste operations in Tennant Street.
All the major parties issued statements before the election either opposing the new waste developments in Fyshwick or seeking a moratorium.
But council chair Gary Kent has now written to key ministers Mick Gentleman (Planning), Chris Steel (Recycling and Waste Reduction) and Rebecca Vassarotti (Environment) calling for Access Recycling’s expansion of its metal recycling facility, which was approved last October, to be included in the ban.
This would be the kind of retrospective government action Access director Adam Perry, who is also a CRS director, has blasted as being anti-business and was making the ACT a risky place for the private sector to invest.
But Mr Kent says air quality and noise concerns remain about the fragmentiser, which will shred whole cars in the open air, and that the approval was “highly flawed”.
In his letter, Mr Kent argues that the planning authority’s decision not to treat the proposal as a recycling facility because the works were located within an existing facility and assess it through the Merit Track meant major human health and environmental impacts did not receive adequate consideration.
“For example, the ACT EPA Separation Distance Guidelines for Air Emissions 2018 apply because the proposed expanded facility will have a major impact for the surrounding mixed-use industrial area,” Mr Kent says.
“Harvey Norman and AllBids and other established businesses are within 60 metres and will be exposed to increased noise and toxic air emissions.”
Mr Kent says the noise from grinding, shredding and crushing of metal and the use of vibrating separators will be equivalent to the sound level of a jet plane at take-off.
He says the proposal clearly qualified as a major waste facility and the environmental and other impacts referred to in Mr Gentleman’s Assembly speech introducing the Fyshwick planning bill are of equal concern in the case of the fragmentiser.
The council believes the facility would not have been able to gain approval under environmental and planning legislation in other Australian jurisdictions.
In the notice of decision approving the facility, the Environmental Protection Authority and the ACT Health Protection Service accepted that the company’s mitigation strategies would contain emissions and dust impacts to safe levels.
Access will need to regularly monitor the air quality at the Lithgow Street site to confirm that emissions are at safe levels and report to the EPA.
The shredders will have to be set back 15 metres from the site boundary and a soundproofing acoustic hood installed to contain the noise.