Waste incinerator on hold

Maria Sampey at the site of the proposed waste-to-energy plant. 200000_01 Picture: GARY SISSONS

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

The proponent of a waste-to-energy plant in Dandenong South remains “fully committed” after Greater Dandenong Council put its approval on hold.

The council rescinded its permit approval for the Great Southern Waste Technologies proposal at 70 Ordish Road at a meeting on 11 November.

Two weeks earlier, the council had been deadlocked at 5-5 on the permit approval. It was passed on the casting vote of then-mayor Youhorn Chea.

However, with newly-elected councillor Peter Brown’s support, the rescission motion was passed unopposed.

Cr Maria Sampey, the rescission mover, said the aim was for the council to hold-off until Environment Protection Authority Victoria assessed the plan.

It would also allow time for consultation with residents and nearby businesses.

“We’re dealing with a major application – a waste-to-energy facility where about 100,000 tonnes of waste will be incinerated per year so we really need to get proper feedback … for councilors to make a decision.”

In support, Cr Matthew Kirwan later said the motion wasn’t an attempt to refuse the application.

He noted the facility was “not far” from residents in Dandenong South and Keysborough.

“For us to be asked to approve a planning application for it, without knowing the atmospheric emissions and any other environmental impacts or the ongoing site management procedures is neither reasonable nor responsible.

“As I said at the last meeting there is no rush.

“This application comes before the multi-council Expression of Interest procurement process, for which the economic viability of this facility relies, has even started.”

Great Southern Waste Technologies director Bill Keating said the company was still considering what the council’s decision meant for the project.

“Great Southern nonetheless remains fully committed to the project.

“This project is world’s best practice and environmentally advanced waste treatment that will deliver improved outcomes for Dandenong and the wider Melbourne community.”

The plant would be expected to incinerate 100,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste a year. About 3 per cent of ash byproduct is expected to be emitted from its 55-metre smoke stack.

It would generate 9.3 Megawatt hours of electricity, enough to power the plant (1.4 MWh) as well as about 7000 homes, according to Great Southern.

The project is currently being assessed by the EPA.

The EPA did not comment before deadline.

 

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