The ACT Government has confirmed it will do all it can to block the Fyshwick waste proposal in Ipswich Street but is awaiting advice on how it will proceed.
The proponent, Capital Recycling Solutions, has written twice to both Planning Minister Mick Gentleman and Transport and City Services Minister Chris Steel seeking clarity before it spends $70,000 officially lodging its submitted development application.
But Mr Steel says the government will not be responding until it secures its advice.
CRS director Adam Perry said the company was willing to negotiate with the government, even about changing the use for the site adjacent the rail line, but it was being left in limbo.
”Regardless of whether or not you like the project, the process is terrible,” he said.
Mr Perry remains perplexed at the government’s mixed signals during the four-year history of the proposal, saying the pre-election announcement that Labor would oppose the proposal and preferred all waste facilities to be co-located in Hume was clearly political.
”Why didn’t they tell us that four years ago?”
In a statement, the government said it was currently seeking advice on the best way to ensure resource recovery facilities were located in Hume, as outlined in the ACT’s Waste Management Strategy.
It was also looking at the use of industrial zones in the ACT through the current planning review.
”The ACT Government has already put a moratorium on Waste to Energy as a result of community consultation, stopping the burning of rubbish and supporting higher-order recycling. We will not support processing red bin waste in Fyshwick, which is a core element of the CRS proposal,” a spokesperson said.
Mr Steel told Region Media that the government was basing its decisions on the Waste Management Strategy, above the Waste Feasibility Study that followed it, and would meet its election commitments.
”We are looking at the zoning in Fyshwick, whether those sites and types of development and uses are appropriate given the changing nature of the suburb, and consistent with the Waste Management Strategy, actually having those in Hume would be a far better location,” he said.
”The Waste Management Strategy came before the Feasibility Study and the Strategy was clear that resource recovery centres should be in Hume.”
When pressed about how the CRS proposal has progressed right up to DA stage, Mr Steel said there was nothing to stop proponents putting up their plans.
”Whether it is consistent or not is something the planning authority will have to have a look at,” he said.
Mr Steel said just because an Environmental Impact Statement had been accepted did not mean the whole project had been ticked.
He said there were a whole range of other matters that had to be addressed, such as traffic, which remained a concern for the Hi-Quality building and commercial waste proposal in Tennant Street.
But he confirmed that CRS would not have access to household garbage in any waste operation on Ipswich Street.
”They wanted to sort that rubbish and recover a small amount of resources from it. We won’t give them that waste stream,” he said.
CRS has already spent millions of dollars leading up to the DA, and Mr Perry has said the government’s actions were bad for business and would deter investment.
The situation may well end up being resolved in the courts.