6 August 2020

Inner south groups, Fyshwick businesses declare war on waste plans

| Ian Bushnell
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Capital Recycling Solutions' Ipswich Street site

A render of Capital Recycling Solutions’ Ipswich Street site showing the rail terminal and the MRF. Images: CRS.

Inner south community groups and the Fyshwick Business Association are joining forces to declare war on waste processing proposals for the light industrial and retail suburb.

With the ACT election in mind, the umbrella Inner South Canberra Community Council and the FBA have decided to take an openly hostile position to waste processing in Fyshwick, particularly Capital Recycling Solutions’ plans for a processing and recycling plant next to the rail line in Ipswich Street and the Hi-Quality proposal for a facility to process building, commercial and industrial waste in Tennant Street.

They also oppose Access Recycling’s fragmentiser proposal to shred end-of-life vehicles and other metals in Lithgow Street.

They fear the cumulative effects of multiple waste plants will result in health impacts on residents, workers and shoppers; create feedstock demand that will have to draw on NSW waste to be viable; and industrialise Fyshwick at the expense of other businesses and emerging industries.

The proponents argue their plans are within the existing planning rules for Fyshwick and will divert hundreds of thousands of tonnes of ACT waste from landfill for recycling.

READ ALSO DA for Fyshwick recycling facility close after EIS accepted

ISCCC chair Marea Fatseas said the tough stand, before development applications from CRS or Hi-Quality had been lodged, was a response to the ACT’s ineffective regulatory system which was attracting proposals that would not pass muster in NSW.

”Our role is not to consult with the proponents,” she said.

“Our role is to make sure that the ACT has a regulatory framework that is consistent with and not looser than the one in NSW.

”Why should we have to negotiate with proponents when our concerns are with the regulatory and planning framework which is basically encouraging these sorts of proposals?”

The campaign will target Kurrajong candidates including Chief Minister Andrew Barr and Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith, Liberal frontbenchers Elizabeth Lee and Candice Burch, as well as newcomer Patrick Pentony.

Greens leader and minister Shane Rattenbury has already been instrumental in CRS dropping plans to incinerate waste after his party came out against the practice, with the government banning it in its Waste to Energy policy.

The ISCCC has organised a candidates’ forum in September and the waste processing issues will be front and centre.

”We are systematically going to talk to all the candidates. There are still two to three months to get a sense of what the policy positions are of the different candidates and parties,” she said.

ISCCC chair Marea Fatseas

ISCCC chair Marea Fatseas: ”We are systematically going to talk to all the candidates.” Photo: File.

But Ms Fatseas said the campaign would not just be directed at local candidates and residents.

”Remember that people who work in Fyshwick come from all over Canberra, those businesses have customers from all over Canberra,” she said.

Ms Fatseas said the government needed to take a look at the big picture and what direction it wanted Fyshwick to take.

”If you had a holistic view of where Fyshwick is going then you’d be able to say whether this fits where we want to take it and this doesn’t,” she said.

READ ALSO Icon Water uses recycled glass to contribute to a circular economy

Ms Fatseas said the recent announcement from Minister for Recycling and Waste Reduction Chris Steel on the re-use of recycled glass in road base and around sewer pipes was exactly the kind of local recycling that needed to be encouraged ”because it’s our waste and it’s being recycled here for our use”.

The CRS proposal would mean only 5 per cent of the waste it processes would be reused locally, with 15 per cent going on the train to Port Botany for export and 80 per cent would go to landfill at Woodlawn 70 kilometres away, she said.

”How is that a good deal? How is that getting close to taking care of our own waste locally?” Ms Fatseas asked.

“This will not be about increasing recycling locally except at a very minor level.”

READ ALSO Inner south rails against green light for Fyshwick recycling plant EIS

The government has accepted CRS’s Environmental Impact Statement, paving the way for a DA to be lodged, Hi-Quality has yet to lodge a DA but the ISCCC is examining its submitted EIS, and the Access DA is being assessed.

Other operations already in Fyshwick include Access’s metal recycling business and Tiger Waste in Lithgow Street.

The planning authority has already approved Access’s rail freight terminal that will also serve CRS’s plant, in which Access and Sydney-based Benedict Industries are joint venture partners.

ISCCC’s Kurrajong candidates’ forum will be at the Harmonie-German Club in Narrabundah on Sunday, 20 September from 4:00 to 6:00 pm (subject to COVID-19 restrictions). Parliamentary gallery journalist Malcolm Farr will be Master of Ceremonies.

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HiddenDragon6:06 pm 07 Aug 20

Following on from the useful perspectives set out in Julie Macklin’s comments last night, there are serious traffic issues at play here. That may, in part, be because Fyshwick has evolved into something which was not intended in the original planning, and certainly not provided for in subsequent roadworks.

Those traffic problems are going to get much, much worse, if these proposals go ahead, and we also see a continuation of the trend of sending more traffic to Fyshwick, as businesses which formerly operated in other parts of Canberra are pushed out by redevelopment (e.g. the Phillip Magnet Mart) and customers turn to alternatives at Fyshwick, or as retailers and other non-“industrial” businesses, which might (in the idealised world of taxpayer funded planners) be better placed elsewhere, look to Fyshwick in the search for rents which give them a chance of surviving.

If the view is that Fyshwick should get back to its original purpose, then the proponents of that view need to provide a Plan B – unless they want to see many current Fyshwick businesses disappear, or perhaps move across the border – which would be ironic, given the “we should do it here” argument in favour of these proposals.

The proposal would result in one truck every 4 minutes.

The idea that there would be a “traffic issue” from this is beyond laughable, although it’s obvious why opponents would attempt to cling to something like this.

But you are right in that if the government doesn’t want Fyshwick to be an industrial area, they should be clear on it and change the land use.

Convienently this would increase the NIMBYs land value but I’m sure that has nothing to do with it.

Hlwever, realistically there is nowhere else in the ACT that would be as suitable for this type of use so they would be killing off any chance of future industrial developments if they did that.

HiddenDragon6:28 pm 08 Aug 20

“The proposal would result in one truck every 4 minutes.”

Which would never, ever, change throughout the life of the proposed facilities…..?

I don’t live in the inner south. I don’t have any direct or indirect interest in Fyshwick business(es) or real estate. I don’t lose sleep fretting about the “heritage” (or whatever) of Fyshwick.

I just know that Fyshwick is important to the way this town actually works, and to the day-to-day lives of many Canberrans – so proposals which could seriously impact on that need to be looked at very closely. That’s all.

Who cares if it does change. You could triple it and it still wouldn’t be an issue.

You were the one saying this would cause serious traffic problems when it clearly wouldn’t.

I agree with you that proposals like this should be looked at closely but some of the opposition to this is unhinged at best.

Marea Fatseas11:58 am 09 Aug 20

Chewy14 I’d like to see a traffic study that looks at the combined traffic impact of the proposed CRS facility on Ipswich Street, the proposed metal fragmentiser near there, the existing Access Recycling metal recycling facility and Tiger Waste in Lithgow Street, and the proposed Hi-Qual facility on Tennant Street (I understand that Hi-Qual facility alone may result in an additional 500,000 vehicle movements per year). Given that Ipswich Street is the main way many people get onto the Majura Parkway, and that it’s already busy turning into Collie/then Tennant streets from Newcastle Street near Bunnings, I’m not convinced at all by your assertion there will be no traffic impacts.

A traffic study was included in the EIS, which you’ve been quoting elsewhere.

So you know very well that the proposed impacts have been quantified already.

Marea Fatseas7:56 pm 09 Aug 20

chewy14 the EIS for the CRS facility in Ipswich Street couldn’t have quantified the combined impact of that and other facilities like the Hi-Quality facility because the EIS for the latter has only been released recently, two years after the CRS EIS.

So you now expect the proponents of one development to control potential issues from another development?

You could just admit you’re clutching at straws because no matter what mitigation measures they proposed you wouldn’t be satisfied.

Capital Retro12:11 pm 07 Aug 20

Someone said “Hume would be closer to the tip”. I can’t see the relevance of this so could someone explain why?

Nor can I. Just one of many clutching at excuses. Fyshwick would be neutral as most trucks that pickup from the Northside would have less distance to go, Southside the trip would be longer, but of course offset by the now shorter Northside trips.

Other places like Beard would add 5-10km to every journey and there is no way that Hume would be suitable for all the same arguments About proximity to housing being used against Fyshwick.

Capital Retro4:50 pm 09 Aug 20

As I understand it, the plan is to process the raw waste at Fyshwick and anything not extracted for value will be transferred to the big hole near Tarago so there should be no interaction between the new facility at Fyshwick and the one at MLRMC.

The big unknown is whether the ACT government plans to mine garbage from the land fill at MLRMC to “sell” it to the Fyshwick plant or create a huge waste fed incinerator to create electricity.

What is the likelihood that waste will be imported into the ACT (by truck) from NSW to feed the plant once it is fully established? I think a previous article said the capacity of the plant would exceed the entire recyclable waste stream of the ACT. If so, then truck movements will be an issue as well as noise and potential pollution of groundwater, fire hazards etc. All this needs to be addressed comprehensively, surely.

Capital Retro10:10 am 07 Aug 20

Waste and recyclables have been imported into the ACT for landfill and processing for years.

I believe all the issues you have raised have been dealt with in the EIS. Remember some developments already underway in the ACT where the ACT is a joint venture partner have had the EIS requirement waived.

Marea Fatseas12:46 pm 07 Aug 20

Tjilpi1 is correct. The scale of what is proposed by the new waste facilities far exceeds what is currently going into landfill, and the Government’s own consultant Arup identified many issues that still need to be addressed.

Its a bit irrelevant what scale the facility is capable of if they put in the required controls to manage it and the land is zoned appropriately, which it is.
And despite your complaints, the government has accepted the revised EIS because CRS responded sufficiently to the issues raised by ARUP, so to claim they still need to be addressed is disingenuous

They can now move to a DA and you’ll get another chance to oppose the development, but it seems you want the government to reject the development regardless of what the proponents do or do not do to mitigate any potential risks.

russianafroman8:49 pm 06 Aug 20

Not sure why recycling and green solutions are so offensive to these people. Maybe they don’t understand the real concerns of climate change which we NEED to address. Maybe you don’t like the appearance of a recycling centre, well guess what. That’s too bad.

Capital Retro8:23 am 07 Aug 20

What has recycling and “green solutions” (whatever they are) got to do with climate change?

Our climate changes continually no matter what you believe about humans interfering with it.

Marea Fatseas1:00 pm 07 Aug 20

russianafroman the Government’s consultant who reviewed the CRS Environmental Impact Statement, Arup, said that one of the main issues was that the “assessment does not consider if treating and transporting materials interstate and overseas would use more energy and generate more greenhouse gas than dealing with it in the ACT”. Doesn’t sound like it’s going to help address climate change!

russianafroman4:36 pm 07 Aug 20

Capital Retro Not interested in engaging with people who deny climate change is real.

russianafroman4:43 pm 07 Aug 20

Marea Fataseas That’s one observation of many. What you’re looking at is a research flaw. The consultant noted that the environmental impact statement did not include an obscure research component, ie, the greenhouse gas emissions produced by transporting the recycled materials via garbage truck. Guess what. Garbage trucks run all day in Australia. What you’ve focused on is a research flaw, and you’re trying to use it as a “gotcha” point to insinuate the running of garbage trucks will outweigh the benefits of actually recycling materials which otherwise are dumped for use in landfill.

Capital Retro8:15 am 08 Aug 20

Climate change is a fact (as I said) but attributing it to human activity is a fantasy.

Marea Fatseas12:06 pm 09 Aug 20

russianafroman I was responding to your assumption in your first post that what is proposed is recycling and green, when there is no clear evidence that what is proposed would be of overall benefit in terms of recycling or being “green”.

russianafroman4:05 pm 10 Aug 20

Marea Fatseas Quite an uphill battle to try and argue that the promotion of recycling solutions is a less green alternative to landfill solutions. When you do the cursory research you’ll note Australia’s tendency to export most of our “recyclables” to developing countries which are subsequently dumped. It’s time we change this. Unfortunately, we have been blocked by contention and red tape for so long that we haven’t noticed the water rising above our necks.

russianafroman4:07 pm 10 Aug 20

Capital Retro I mean, surely you’d agree dumping our perfectly recyclable waste into the Java Sea isn’t exactly the most efficient or green solution to handling the resultants of our materialistic societies. This relates to my response to Marea, whereas we as a nation are constantly bogged down by contention and red tape to the point where nothing is ever done.

I find it funny that the NIMBY’s are complaining that a proposal to build an industrial facility in an industrial area will somehow “industrialise” the suburb.

Particularly when, if they get their way, they are basically sterilizing the whole area from what it is actually supposed to cater for.

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