18 February 2021

Government urged to extend Fyshwick waste ban bill to fragmentiser

| Ian Bushnell
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Access Recycling

Access Recycling’s expanded metal recycling facility was approved last October, but the process has been called flawed. Photo: File.

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.

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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.

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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.

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ACT resident9:06 pm 18 Feb 21

Access Recycling was established in 2014 in a Lithgow St sublease on a block shared with Tigerwaste which recycles construction waste and crushes concrete. The metal operation has experienced 8 toxic fires by ESA records and there has been one explosion heard in Newcastle St. The fragmentisers, a shredder uncovered in the open air and a high energy 1200HP hammermill will only increase this proven risk of fires. In layman’s terms these activities are polluting and constitute “heavy industry”. In SA the similar operation set up by Access is located 1.25km from residences, in Qld the separation for fragmentisers used on End of Life Vehicles (ELVs) is specified as 1.5km for new facilities and NSW is looking at covering operations. Fragmentising vehicles is new to the ACT and we have no identification like other states. Our separation distance guideline for any scrap metal activity from sensitive receptors is 500m. The ACTPLA decision maker has in this case dismissed the right to clean air of the 140 long stay residents of the Southside Village located at a distance of 460m. The Bill came too late for inclusion of toxic fragmentisers. Or was this approval after nearly 18 months of assessment, suddenly slipped through a week after the Labor victory which strengthened the Planning hold of Barr, Gentleman and Ponton. The Chief Planning Executive is exposed in a direct sale which process was flawed and Minister Gentleman continued to extol the virtues of metal waste to Port Botany, which partnership with Access was a total disaster for the Heritage Rail Association. Certainly, rail freight from Kingston or Fyshwick is not viable. The sorry tale of manipulation of ACT planners and the Land Development Agency ineffectually rebadged as the Suburban Land Agency, unfolds for all to examine on the EPSDFOI disclosure log.

And there we have the NIMBY on its natural environment. Simply making things up and misreading the regulations to suit a predetermined argument.

It’s lucky for the NIMBY that it has found a fertile environment where its illogical arguments can flourish despite planning regulations supposedly meant to support evidence based arguments that have now been thrown out the window.

Always enjoy it when someone gets 2 + 2 and gets 354 out of it, just to support their story. The sorry sordid tail of the heritage rail guys in regards to scrap metal was more a problem because they should never have been getting into such business in the first place – nothing to do with what business they were getting into. Funnily enough, they extended too far financially using the financial position of the broader organisation, and paid the price.

Here we go. Blind Freddie could have seen this nonsense coming. The MLAs who have been involved with this farce should step down on the basis of incompetence.

Yes exactly,
Now that they’ve realised they can pressure MLAs to operate outside of the planning system, they think it’s open season.

Entirely predictable.

Didn’t take long for the newly crowned Fyshwick planners to decide they wanted further changes, did it Chewy!

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