Costigan / Pollies fail the smell test on Fyshwick dump

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In red, the Wiluna Street site of the planned domestic rubbish dump at Fyshwick… right in the middle of an area where people shop for furniture, white goods and a lot more. Photo Google Maps

WHEN you would have thought that this Chief Minister’s government could not have any more dubious goings-on to be exposed, including those misplaced papers on the infamous Dickson Tradies land swap, yet another has been dumped in front of us.

Paul Costigan.

On Thursday evening (May 31), a meeting of 120 plus southside residents patiently discussed a proposal to place Canberra’s major garbage facility in the centre of Fyshwick, a suburb zoned for commercial and light industry. The zoning does not allow for anything resembling a garbage transfer facility.

I really admired these residents who managed to stay polite in the face of such a stupid idea that has progressed through most of the ACT government’s planning stages. Are you surprised? It seems that as with all the current planning disasters, the story is generic – just insert the name of any suburb. Now it is the turn of Fyshwick’s traders and their customers.

Most of Canberra’s domestic rubbish will be dumped here instead of at Mugga Lane. To understand the impact, please Google “Wiluna Street, Fyshwick” and look at the large block between Allbids and the railway. Yep, that’s it, right in the middle of an area where people shop for furniture, white goods and a lot more.

The local businesses are worried sick – and for good reason. Think about the smell and environmental pollution for any distance depending on the wind and the large number of garbage trucks coming and going most of the day. The traffic is already bad at times in and around Fyshwick. Now consider the impact on shopping in Fyshwick when all the city’s garbage trucks are lining up to enter and exit this centrally located site.

The presentation on the night was very measured considering the scale of stupidity with this project having progressed beyond any initial thought bubble.

The main spokesperson, who was lucky enough to have spent the time reading a 700-page report on this thing, highlighted so many things that are wrong. All this was great for those of us who probably have been doing the garden, going to work, fishing or spending time with loved ones, instead of reading such mind-bending documentation.

But before anyone considers the many things that are technically wrong, how do you get past the fact that any caring politician could have embraced such an idea in the first place. Could it be as simple as another land deal and another case of ignoring the reality of the consequences – just like so many things in Dickson and elsewhere at the moment?

Fyshwick is in the ACT electorate of Kurrajong that has five politicians supposedly representing them. As reported on the night, none have been showing up at meetings on this topic and all received a roasting from the residents for their lack of commitment to such basic electorate issues.

One cannot imagine how anyone in this government, especially our Greens member, Shane Rattenbury, could be so proud of this rubbish proposal that they are looking forward to the day when they cut the ribbon for a smelly waste facility in central Fyshwick. To be efficient, they could then slip around the corner to assist local traders shut up their businesses, close down their livelihoods and assist the many staff with their unemployment claim forms.

Those traders who are being vocal about this thing being plonked into the business environment will now be branded as NIMBYS – like the rest of Canberra’s citizens!

People at the meeting were definitely not against such a facility being built for Canberra. Just why now when the Mugga Lane tip has at least 30 years life in it – and why on this site? There is no doubt that our ACT politicians are failing the smell test on the Fyshwick traders – and the rest of Canberra.

I urge all to comment before June 21: Google “Materials recovery facility – Fyshwick” and email

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  1. Both community and government have been duped in this process which will deliver Fyshwick the largest waste transfer terminal shed in Australia being twice the size of the similar use Banksmeadow and three times the size of the Clyde transfer terminal. These two Sydney terminals have a strict licence to deliver by rail up to 20% of Sydney’s household garbage into Woodlawn by rail. It is unlikely that NSW Planning will agree to receive long term at least 240,000tpa from the ACT thus reducing capacity and life of the Woodlawn landfill. So the company has in its November application to government included a Stage 2 Waste to Energy high temperature incinerator but now during the EIS process has stated the WtE facility is off the table. However, the ACTPLA original notified Scoping Document, NI2017-389 with WtE remains available for CRS on the EPSDD website. It is incredible that this “one stop solution” has been facilitated by government in a direct sale of Territory land for a most controversial monopoly on ACT waste management. No consultation with community was provided by our government. The only way to oppose the deal is to put a submission under NI2018-27 to the EIS at Check the EPSDD website under draft EIS to see the details of the proposal. Should the development proceed there will be no food and garden organics processed in the ACT and the cost for our waste management will escalate to suit this developer. If we validate the Waste Feasibilty Study options there will be no need for any waste transfer of this enormity. We already do recycling well and continue to reduce waste to landfill. Benefit in this proposal is only for the developer over increased cost to community. There is an urgent need for the ACT to have a policy on WtE.

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