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Ipswich City Council set to reject increase to height of landfill site at New Chum

More than 300 public submissions made opposing increase to height of landfill site

Ipswich City Council is set to refuse an application to increase the height of a landfill site at New Chum.

A report has been presented to council’s Growth and Infrastructure Committee considering a request from Cleanaway Solid Waste Pty Ltd for a material change of use at 20 Rhondda Road and 100 Chum Street in which the company hoped to increase the height of their existing landfill by 14m.

It was recommended that council refuse the application at its monthly meeting on 28 October.

The development site currently operates as a landfill and associated crushing, screening, milling and grinding operations, waste transfer station and service trades use (motor vehicle repair). The development site was historically used for open cut mining activities.

Acting General Manager of Planning and Regulatory Services Brett Davey said the proposal sought to increase the capacity of the existing landfill by way of an increase in the height of the finished landform from the currently approved level.

Cleanaway also proposed changes to external batter slopes, surface water runoff and capping requirements, the establishment of a new resource recovery area for the sorting, removal and stockpiling of receiving materials that are not intended to be taken to landfill and the introduction of an additional landfill cell.

“The proposed increase in height results in the peak of the landfill being approximately 25m higher than the western edge of the former mining void,” he said.

“The proposed landfill footprint is approximately 64 hectares with an additional 7,479,000m3 of landfill capacity proposed. No changes to the current waste stream acceptance criteria or increase in the intensity of operations in terms of vehicle movements were proposed as part of this application.

Mr Davey said an assessment was undertaken by council officers and it was determined that the proposal does not advance the purpose of the Planning Act 2016 and conflicts with the South East Queensland Regional Plan 2017-2041, State Planning Policy 2017 and the applicable codes of the Planning Scheme and the Temporary Local Planning Instrument No. 1 of 2018 (Waste Activity Regulation) (TLPI) with no sufficient grounds to justify the decision despite the conflict.

Some of the key areas of concern to council included:

• The vertical increase in the height of the landfill includes filling and earthworks that extend beyond the top of a former mining void.

• The expanded landfill will be visible from a number of residential and other sensitive areas both within and adjoining the Swanbank/New Chum locality.

• The vertical increase in the height of the landfill will have a detrimental impact on the amenity of the surrounding area, particularly on existing, approved or planned residential areas or other sensitive receiving uses.

• The expanded landfill will not achieve appropriate rehabilitation outcomes for the site.

• The applicant failed to demonstrate that there is an overarching need for the proposed landfill expansion and that the proposal will not undermine the vision, strategies, objectives and outcomes sought by the Queensland Government particularly in the context of the current resource recovery, recycling and residual waste management initiatives introduced by government.

Mr Davey said council engaged an external, independent expert to review the development application and the expert agreed with the council’s recommendation to refuse it.

“Taking into account all relevant information, it is concluded that the proposal has not demonstrated sufficient grounds to justify approval having regard to the common material and key planning provisions,” he said.

More than 320 public submissions were made to council objecting to the proposal, dealing with traffic and transport issues, air pollution and odour, nose pollution, water and soil pollution, health impacts, site rehabilitation, impact of wildlife, proximity to residential areas, and increased landform height and loss of amenity.

If council confirms the refusal decision next week, Cleanaway has the option to appeal to the Planning and Environment Court.

(Image below of current approved landfill height and the proposed height)

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