Gerogery composting plant heads for a stink in the courts

EDITORIAL:Next step for Cleanaway

GREATER Hume Council is facing a potentially costly new year legal battle with Cleanaway about its plans to build an $8.5 million compost facility near Gerogery.

Cleanaway has lodged an appeal with the NSW Land and Environment Court after a regional planning approval knocked back a development application for the facility in August.

The court will make a fresh assessment of the Cleanaway development application unless the two parties can settle the matter through mediation.

But Greater Hume councillors publicly urged the planning panel refuse the application and council director Colin Kane declared the site was unsuitable in an environmental assessment report carried out before the panel hearing.

A planning panel considered the development application due to the project’s price tag.

The proposed site already has a variety of uses including farming, a quarry, accommodation and paintball.

The compost facility has approval from the Environmental Protection Authority, NSW Roads and Maritime Services and Rural Fire Service.

Cleanaway is also contributing to an upgrade of an Olympic Highway intersection to the site and will pay $85,000 to Greater Hume shire in developer contributions.

Organic materials collected from Albury, Wodonga, Indigo and Corowa council areas will be recycled on site with the compost produced effective in the production of canola crops and general agricultural purposes.

Cleanaway regional manager Stuart Masters said the Land and Environment Court would provide an opportunity for the key attributes and environmental benefits of the project to be assessed.

“Cleanaway has been part of the local community for almost 30 years,” he said.

“The introduction of an organic waste service will divert the region’s household waste away from landfill by half.

“It is a significant step forward in service and sustainability by the local councils.

“The new service will be supplemented by the provision of a specific organic kerbside bin and kitchen bin system, which was trialled successfully over a 16-week period in 900 homes in Albury, Wodonga, Beechworth and Tallangatta in 2012.”

Mr Masters said 20 full-time jobs would be created during construction and four full-time jobs once the facility was operational.

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