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Waste proposal a planning debacle that will ruin Fyshwick

Rob Evans 28 June 2019 13

Allbids CEO Rob Evans on why a waste transfer facility in Fyshwick will hurt businesses and the community. Photo: Daniella Jukic.

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.

Fyshwick is no place for a waste transfer dump, yet the red indicator above shows where one is proposed.

Fyshwick is no place for a waste transfer dump, yet the red indicator above shows where one is proposed.

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.


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13 Responses to Waste proposal a planning debacle that will ruin Fyshwick
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chewy14 7:58 am 03 Jul 19

The planning debacle isn't necessarily allowing industrial use in this area, the real bastardisation has been allowing a suburb that was always zoned industrial to be taken over by light commercial uses.

The ACT has almost no true industrial land use left and the Fyshwick area has always been ideally suited to it due to its location away from residential areas and near the highway and rail lines.

Also, the impact of truck movements expected here has been massively overblown. It doesn't help your argument to exaggerate a few truck movements through the area into a roadblock.

MERC600 1:14 pm 01 Jul 19

This is not going to end up looking like that dump that was allowed to operate in the Hume Industrial area? What a brilliant plan that was to have a huge dump established right in Hume next to light industrial buildings. What a disaster that was.. and still is. Not all the rubbish has yet to be removed after our illustrious gummint closed it down.

    Capital Retro 5:26 pm 01 Jul 19

    It will cost many millions of dollars to clean up - bill the ACT ratepayers.

HiddenDragon 6:06 pm 30 Jun 19

I hope those who have approved this proposal have fully and carefully considered the implications of it for future options for Fyshwick as a whole - it's a big piece of handily located and potentially very, very valuable real estate (look at what has happened to former light industrial areas in Sydney, for instance) which could be a useful source of revenue for a perpetually cash-hungry ACT Government.

    Rob Evans 4:07 pm 01 Jul 19

    Absolutely. And the new businesses sprouting up in Fyshwick grinding coffee beans, brewing beer, inventing new products and the like are all supplying direct to Canberrans. The location and proximity to the lake make it even more important to maintain as a lighter industrial suburb. The development at Dairy Flat Road is a prime example of how Fyshwick is becoming an even more valuable asset to our capital. It would be a great shame if a heavy industrial waste station is allowed in such a central location. Rob

Jorge Garcia 3:55 pm 30 Jun 19

Who wrote this? Amd who allowed it to be posted under the RiotACT banner? The article is very one sided and uses very emotional language.... Recycling is good isn't it? And the recycling facility has to go somewhere. For all we know and the very little information provided in the article, Fyshwick may well be the best place for it.

JC 1:41 pm 30 Jun 19

What melodramatic tosh.

I can accept the transfer station may have an impact on allbids and businesses right next door, but Fyshwick as a whole. Pull the other one.

Going to argument against something go ahead but at least have some basis for the argument rather than this diatribe.

bd84 1:34 pm 30 Jun 19

The rail line in the industrial suburb that was used to transport petrol to the transfer station? The same suburb that’s home to many industrial uses, including creating building materials and a scrap metal recycling site?

The proposed use is more of the same of the existing use. What’s the problem? I know complaining is fun, but this is just ridiculous.

    Rob Evans 3:58 pm 01 Jul 19

    Ok - I get you and I hate to be one to complain and I'm not complaining for fun. The suburb is home to industry but there is a clear distinction between what is light industrial IZ2 and heavy industry which is zoned IZ1. As we have all seen Fyshwick has transitioned like many old industrial suburbs (think of Braddon here and Alexandria in Sydney) to be one that is light industrial and so accessible to end users. So business in Fyshwick has become more about Canberrans buying from the trade whilst a recycling facility is a business to business or even Government to business organisation. Crushing cars and sorting through waste surely should be heavy industry and be in an IZ1 zone. What is the point of encouraging light industrial businesses to an IZ2 zone in the first place. We were encouraged to invest here based on the planning of the Government back in 2006 who when approving the new DFO site in Fyshwick clearly stated in its zoning that Fyshwick is IZ2 and needs to be a mix of lower rent bulky goods retailing. Rob

    JC 8:16 pm 01 Jul 19

    You are complaining because the business is planned to be right next to you.

    Fyshwick and right next to the railway line is exactly where something like this should be.

Capital Retro 1:19 pm 30 Jun 19

What they plan to do at Fyshwick already exists on a huge scale at the Mugga Lane Resourse Management Centre which is the largest permanent industrial site in Canberra, hosting a waste and asbestos landfill for 500,000 people regionally, a building materials recycling complex, an organic recycling factory and land fill gas electrical generation plant emitting waste gasses equivalent to 24 large interstate trucks 24/7. There are hundreds of vehicle movements daily – many are heavy diesel trucks, earthmoving equipment and there will be many people attending services at the planned adjacent burial/crematorium site who will be exposed to them, the noise, dust, offensive odours, rubbish lining the access roads etc.

The combination of all these activities makes the site totally non-conducive for is happening there now and in the future so get used to what this government is now bringing to your suburb.

So why not rail waste from Mugga Way, with the proponent re-establishing tracks on the existing rail easement you say? Well, for a start there is no easement there as I recall.

    Rob Evans 3:41 pm 01 Jul 19

    I totally understand where you are coming from with regard to the noise, dust, offensive odors, rubbish lining the access roads around Hume. It would not be pleasant to be nearby. However Hume is zoned IZ1 which is heavy industry whilst Fyshwick is zoned IZ2 which is light industrial. For Hume the management of these issues needs to be looked into as the ACT Government does have a strategy to co-locate these types of businesses in Hume.

    The point we are making is that this sort of very heavy industry is not suitable for Fyshwick, which has several residents and more and more consumer orientated businesses spouting up. As for the rail easement, there is one into Hume and in fact it was being used as recently as 1999 when Freight Australia commenced operating log trains a couple of kilometres south of Queanbeyan to Hume. This freight though has now ceased with a stop block being placed at Queanbeyan. Rob

    Capital Retro 5:23 pm 01 Jul 19

    According to ACTMAPI, the Mugga Lane Resource Management isn't in Hume (or nearby Symonston). The actual address is JERRABOMBERRA: Block 2114, Rural REGISTERED at 499 MUGGA LANE.

    The Territory Plan - Land Use Zone: NUZ1: BROADACRE but Corkhill Bros., who operate the very smelly compost factory there show their address in the phone book as Symonston, so it definitely isn't in Hume.

    I drove north along the Monaro Highway past Hume on Sunday afternoon and it looked like a dust storm was coming from the building material recycling operations to the north of MLRMC. The dust, smells and emissions go anywhere the wind blows it - you will have the same problem in Fyshwick. Those multi million dollar penthouses at Kingston foreshores will cop it too.

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