Canberra, the smart, clean, planned national capital we all love, is about to turn one of its premier retail suburbs, Fyshwick, into a waste transfer dump.
The writing is on the wall. Proponents of a stinking, noisy Materials Recovery Facility have already spent millions to exploit a loophole to access the rail line, and now propose new, unsafe traffic lights in Ipswich Street, to let loose hundreds of big trucks on a suburb never designed, nor zoned for such planning abuse.
Access Recycling crushes and sorts metal from its site in Lithgow Street. It has amalgamated adjoining land, secured access to the railway siding and wants to assemble bigger, noisier machines, to crush cars and other metal waste and rail it out of town. Step by step, Access Recycling is setting the groundwork for a massive recycling and waste depot from where they and their partners in Canberra Recycling Solutions will, if allowed, accept Canberra’s household rubbish, plus the region’s and South Coast’s waste, to rail it to Woodlawn at Tarago, a bioreactor that accepts 20 per cent of Sydney’s waste.
CRS’s draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed waste depot is still being assessed by the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate ahead of a development application.
There is little forward planning for mountains of waste from the city’s growth because we have for 20 years been so poorly served by this government. This outrageous proposal excuses the ACT Government for not managing waste. It will mean dumping everything in Fyshwick and to hell with all the little businesses in the neighbourhood.
The proponents will begin processing commercial waste and move on to putrescible household waste. The Government already has ticked off stage one, the rail freight terminal. The latest development application to intensify the current metal recycling operation is the second phase, and must be stopped. Now. Because it flies in the face of the Government’s own documented Waste Strategy (Page 30) to develop the Hume Resource Recovery Estate to co-locate resource recovery facilities. So why not rail waste from Mugga Way, with the proponent re-establishing tracks on the existing rail easement?
Under the Territory Plan, the key statutory planning document for the ACT, Fyshwick is a mixed-use industrial zone. This enabled the popular DFO, now known as Canberra Outlet Centre, to set up, where a new supermarket recently opened. The current zoning is ideal for businesses where you buy from the trade. Bunnings, Harvey Norman and a multitude of other bulky goods established Fyshwick long ago as a retailing suburb. More recently, a PricewaterhouseCoopers analysis found Fyshwick’s $2.3 billion economy is second only to Civic’s $6 billion economy. Cafes, hairdressers, lighting, office suppliers, clothing retailers and hire companies trade in Fyshwick. This is why I have invested over $3 million in my business, AllBids, in Wiluna Street.
But this ill-considered proposal will hinder so many businesses in Fyshwick who attract the greater Canberra public to buy their wares. Mums and dads who buy cars, antiques, household items, do-it-yourself people and bargain hunters come to Fyshwick to visit this light industrial, mixed-use retail district every day.
If this planning debacle is allowed, customers in their trailers and little vans who come to Fyshwick will in future battle their way past 400 garbage trucks, another set of traffic lights on Ipswich Street and a noisy, smelly transfer dump to buy items for their home.
The future of Fyshwick should be about the investment local businesses make that encourage its current use as mixed-use retail. Molonglo Group’s Dairy Road redevelopment is a great example of that investment.
Multiple attempts have been made to engage the Planning Minister’s office with no reply. Why won’t the Minister come and see what he is, in effect, allowing? Ignoring the facts won’t make the problem disappear.