WASTE management company SITA drew about 300 people to the York Town Hall on the afternoon of November 19 to hear about the proposed Allawuna Farm landfill site.
The 2pm information session was filmed and recorded.
There was laughter from the audience when SITA Australia’s WA state general manager Nial Stock said the company was doing its best to keep the community informed on the project’s progress.
While there is no application yet before the York Shire Council, SITA estimated it was 20 per cent through the project process, and would go as far with its proposal as possible.
Because preparation of the site is estimated to cost between $8 million and $9 million a decision on the project is outside York Shire Council’s jurisdiction.
The council is restricted to deciding on applications within a $3-million to $7-million range.
A development assessment panel would determine the application.
Mr Stock told the meeting SITA ran the best landfills in the world.
Despite this he acknowledged: “Sometimes we stuff things up and say ‘this is what we’ll do to fix it’.”
SITA had no intention to mine clay at the site and the
scope of the project at 150,000 tonnes of rubbish to be dumped was “an indication, It could be less or it could be more”.
He was adamant it was a close estimate.
His company wanted to generate electricity from the landfill.
By burning methane gas it could provide power for up to 3000 homes.
The session began with a PowerPoint presentation and was then open for questions.
People wanting to ask something lined up in the centre of the hall for their turn with the microphone.
They were required to provide their names, addresses and to refrain from making statements.
Residents were critical of the session’s timing, because many people were working and unable to attend, while others were simply unaware of the session.
Shire of York residents denounced the proposed site, asking SITA to buy land elsewhere and leave York alone.
“What are you going to put into my town except rubbish?” asked one person.
Mr Stock did not think nearby the landfill would have an impact on nearby properties, but a Shire of York resident pointed out SITA could not guarantee anything.
Another wanted to know if the request for people attending to sign a register, ostensibly to receive ongoing updates on the landfill, was a ploy and would see the register used in support of the project.
Mr Stock said this would not happen.
At one point one of the people attending the session asked for a show of hands for and against the landfill proposal. It showed only about four people supported it.
Northam identity Belle Moore said SITA had not addressed possible seismic activity at the site.
Mr Stock was not sure how the landfill would react to such an incident.
A common concern raised by many people was the loss of tourists, heritage and road safety along the York-Lakes Road.
Mr Stock said SITA would make a submission to Main Roads to improve safety along the route.