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Mega Tip ... Mega Opposition

The Editor,
Bannockburn Newsletter,


Dear Sir,                                      


We have in the Geelong region many very impressive business leaders and we have organisations like the important “Give Where You Live” which relies on enormous support from businesses. My concern is about those situations where the locals (Davids) have to deal with business Goliaths; where State guidelines and unrepresentative council structures have the capacity to push through approvals which do not serve the community. 

Many people with farms, small businesses and homes in the Murgheboluc township on the Hamilton Highway, 16 kilometres west of Geelong and in the surrounding areas of Stonehaven, Gheringhap and Batesford are alarmed. There is a proposed “Transfer Station, Refuse Disposal (land fill) And Materials Recycling” facility proposed for this area.                  

On the surface this seems OK. We need recycling,  etc., but it is thought that most of the 90 people who have put in submissions to the Golden Plains Shire oppose this facility.  The NIMBYs are out in force. WHY?

Well the usual reasons you can guess.

Who needs their homes and noses assailed by ugly smells and dust ?

Who needs the extra transport issues, with already significant transport stresses on this part of a very busy highway?

Who needs visual and noise pollution from composting and landfilling activities?

Who needs the value of business, farm and family home investments threatened?

Who can forget the reports in the Addie about the littering by people outside the tip at Drysdale? (Feb3, 2016)

What are the implications for the surface and underground water supplies?

What are the technologies which can trusted to provide a 150-year long protection for the life of this proposal, it is approved?

How likely is this proposal to impact on the Barwon River and the very diverse indigenous plant and animal population still existing along this important corridor next to the proposed area?

The list goes on.

To make matters worse-

This facility is not needed by the Golden Plains Shire. The Grampians Central West Waste and Resource Recovery Group which is the state’s regional management group for the Golden Plains Shire Council has indicated that there is no projected need for a tip in the next ten years.

This facility is not a response to a need in the Golden Plains. It is a $40-Million-dollar mega business proposal.

This facility doesn’t fit with the area. There are already council overlays designed to protect the rural aspect, indigenous plant and animal life and there is a recent proposal from the Golden Plains Shire for a further protection overlay of “State and Regional significance” next to the proposed site.

The proposed facility is too big for the area. It is about 75 times the size of the playing field at Kardinia Park. It appears likely to become the biggest and highest in the state. Current recommendations to the state government would have the landfill with a buffer zone of 500 metres and the composting area with a buffer zone of 2 kilometres.  These buffers are important for public safety. The problem is that the second buffer zone will not be wholly on the property of the facility, but will overlap, partly or fully, several neighbouring farms and residences. It will impact significantly on the activities allowed in these areas. These restrictions in a farming community, for example, could include the prohibition of fencing and the erection of buildings, the changing of farming practices and it could restrict estate planning decisions and subdivisions in some cases. It appears that some small holdings and homes will be completely in this zone. The site is simply not big enough for this proposal.

Objectors will eventually be invited to a Golden Plains Shire Council consultation meeting with the applicants and shire officers. Many people are still trying to understand the many ramifications of the lengthy, inches-thick documents attached to the proposal. Others find it just too overwhelming. There is often a significant level of anxiety associated with coming to terms with the impact this proposal will have on lives, if it is approved.

In addition, it is important to note that the Golden Plains stretches north almost to Ballarat. Unlike most shires, councillors represent the total shire and not specific areas.  Why? Several councillors live in areas very distant from the south western extremity of the shire where this facility is proposed. How much faith can locals have in the capacity of all councillors to adequately represent them when several must have no real understanding or connection to this area or the people here? 

Yours faithfully,

Clare Kinnane