An appeal before the Planning and Environment Court in relation to a decision by Ipswich City Council to refuse an application by Biorecycle to increase the height of its landfill at 30 Memorial Drive, Swanbank, by 5m has been settled.
During the course of the appeal it was discovered that the operator had already exceeded the original approved height by 1m.
Council’s General Manager of Planning and Regulatory Services Peter Tabulo said having identified the non-compliance, council officers considered ways of resolving both the compliance issue and the appeal. This included looking for the best outcomes for the community from an environmental and cost aspect.
“It is important to note that the landfill operations were complete, there were no continuing deliveries of material on site and there were no further operating impacts on the community,” Mr Tabulo said.
“On this basis, the option of seeking the operator to excavate the 1m of overfill was dismissed due to not wanting to create further impact on the community once again from this site, from truck movements, dust and noise nuisances.”
Mr Tabulo said it was finally negotiated with the operator and acceptable to the court that rather than going to trial over the original refusal of the request from the operator for the additional 5m, both parties would accept the 1m of additional fill, saving Ipswich ratepayers a likely additional legal bill of between $250,000 and $500,000.
“The outcome achieved therefore, was that the landfill remains at its current levels (80 per cent less than the height sought) including the unlawful volumes that have already been deposited,” Mr Tabulo said.
“The operator proceeds with capping it and rehabilitating the site, and we have included additional environmental requirements on the finishing of the landform.”
Council achieved an outcome for the community, where:
- No more activity occurs on site (other than rehabilitation and maintenance);
- Council has saved a significant amount in legal fees; and
- A better set of environmental conditions informed by experienced experts involved in the appeal have been applied.
Council still has three appeals ongoing for other Ipswich waste/landfill matters.
Mr Tabulo said the likely legal bill for those will be in the millions of dollars.
“At this stage all of those matters are proceeding to trial given the significant nature of the particular proposals,” he said.