Meeting rejects tip plan
OVERWHELMING objections raised during a meeting on Monday left members of the Southern Joint Regional Planning Panel in no doubt about community opposition to plans to build a large tip at Tomerong.
Speaker after speaker condemned the proposal to build the regional non-putrescible waste tip in a gap created by quarrying operations, with several pointing to the potential to damage the region’s environmentally sensitive areas.
There was particular concern raised about the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water’s claims it allowed leachate of up to 300 litres a day to leave the site.
Shoalhaven’s Unwanted Tip (ShUT) member Peter Allison said because the proposal included waste water being recycled and concentrated, any leachate could be an environmental disaster.
“If this application is approved, it is the equivalent of pouring 300 litres of highly toxic waste every day off the wharf at Huskisson,” he said.
More than 200 people packed the Tomerong Hall for the meeting and spilled out all four doors, and heard fellow ShUT member Richard Bates say the applicant and DECCW seemed to have ignored the fact two creeks passed through the tip site, ending in St Georges Basin and Jervis Bay.
Local resident Maureen Webb told the meeting incidents in the past had shown how pollutants carried by Tomerong Creek had ended up in St Georges Basin, causing things such as algal blooms.
Mr Bates said the tip’s proximity to two creeks meant the application breached EPA guidelines and was “unsuitable”.
While David Gannon from consultancy company Watkinson Apperley, representing the tip applicants, earlier told the gathering the tip’s waste water management would provide a closed system that would not leak, Mr Bates dismissed the suggestion.
“This is not a closed system, you can’t build a closed system,” he said.
“This is a disgusting and unsustainable proposal.
“There is an overwhelming case against the tip, which is clearly against the public interest,” Mr Bates said.
ShUT member John Levett said the “ill-conceived proposal” would have a devastating impact on the local economy, as he predicted homes within 500 metres of the tip site would fall in value by between 10 and 20 per cent.
In addition, he claimed a tip would put at risk the Shoalhaven’s tourism industry, which brought more than $629 million into the local economy each year and created more than 6600 jobs.
“It makes no sense to risk a vital industry that employs thousands by allowing a polluting industry promising to employ five people,” Mr Levett said.
Jervis Bay Tourism president Dave Reynolds agreed. “No one wants to come and visit a tip,” he said.
The tip proposal has attracted more than 770 objections to Shoalhaven City Council, prompting the Joint Regional Planning Panel to hold the meeting to gauge community feelings on the issue.
Panel chair Pam Allan said there was “a very, very impressive series of presentations” from community members, with little repetition.
The panel is expected to formally consider the application during a determination meeting at Shoalhaven City Council’s offices in October.