Update: Cleanaway operations at Banksia Road

A Dardanup community group leading a public campaign against Cleanaway’s plan to expand operations at the Banksia Road Landfill site have appealed to Council to provide formal backing of their position.

Tonight Council will consider an extensive report prepared by Shire Manager of Development Services Brenton Scambler in response to the appeal, just as the EPA advised it would delay until mid-July a decision on whether it will conduct its own assessment of the plan to store lithium tailings – a process sparked by a request from Council.

Mr Scambler’s report also outlines insights provided by independent planning consultant Altus Planning engaged by Council to provide expert advice on the three planning applications previously lodged (but now withdrawn) by Cleanaway. The report also includes an audit of current planning approvals and activities currently being undertaken at the site to assess compliance levels.

The report expresses understanding and sympathy for community concern around the potential negative impacts of expanded operations at Banksia Road but demonstrates in detail how State Planning laws prevent Council from expressing any form of pre-emptive judgement about yet-to-be-submitted plans for the site.

“…the Shire is required to assess all applications for development approval against the objectives and provisions of the Town Planning Scheme and apply the provisions of the scheme as they exist not as they might want them to be,” Mr Scambler’s report said.

The report indicates Cleanaway is mostly compliant with its operational obligations at Banksia Road however four areas where only partial compliance has been achieved were identified and are now being addressed.

But what the Report does show, is the vast array of measures Council is putting in place both now and following any future Development Application Cleanaway submits in relation to the site that will ensure an exhaustive investigation into its merits.

In addition, Council will have the opportunity through development of a new Town Planning Scheme – Local Planning Scheme No.9, currently under development – to find a new balance between current land use and development rights over the site provided by the Minister for Planning in 1999 with community aspirations for the locality.

Current actions being undertaken by Council in relation to Banksia Road:

  • Shire staff is conducting a review of groundwater monitoring reports received in relation to the site over the past decade.
  • Shire staff met with the EPA officers considering the referral, and have reiterated the importance of an EPA assessment to the Shire and the Dardanup community.
  • Shire staff have requested Cleanaway provide a surveyed plan confirming existing development heights to ensure compliance with a 2006 development approval plus prepare a new landscaping design for the entire site.
  • Consideration is also being given to engagement of a qualified land surveyor to undertake an independent survey of the site for cross-reference with Cleanway’s survey.
  • Monitoring of Cleanaway’s southern lot boundary stormwater management system to ensure no further system failures with a new system set for installation by June 30, 2021.
  • Legal clarification is being sought as to whether pre-start safety checks being undertaken prior to Cleanaway’s approved 6.00am operational start time could be considered as breach of development approval.
  • Received a commitment from Cleanaway to install a waste barrier fence on top of the windrow adjacent to the southern boundary to capture any windblown waste from the development.
  • Appointment of a Statutory Enforcement Officer in coming months and part of this role will be to undertake regular compliance checks for the development.
  • Requested the Radiological Council of Western Australia obtain approval required to release information associated with its monitoring of the site.
  • Intention to refer any future proposal for the site to the Department of Health for their comment and consideration around issues of public health and safety.

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