THE Department of Water and Environment Regulation has put on hold a decision to licence an Upper Swan business, which has been the subject of odour complaints, pending the outcome of a re-zoning decision before the City of Swan.
In Regulator investigates odour in Upper Swan, (Echo News, August 31, 2017) residents said they believed an offensive, acrid odour like burning rubber was coming from Bitutek (Blackgold Holdings), Lot 16 and Lot 32 Great Northern Hwy.
Earlier this month Environment Minister Stephen Dawson wrote to Swan Hills MLA Jessica Shaw to advise her that an inspection of the premises in August last year by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) had confirmed there was a bitumen manufacturing facility present that had not been approved by DWER or the City of Swan.
Mr Dawson also wrote that in November 2017, DWER had received information that Bitutek was using the nearby Apple St road train assembly area to conduct truck to truck transfers and heating of tankers.
“In addition I have been advised, that DWER has more recently received an application from Bitutek for a works approval and licence, to construct and operate a bitumen manufacturing facility at the premises, under the EP Act,’’ he wrote.
“The department has placed the licence application determination on hold, pending the outcome of a re-zoning decision before the City of Swan.”
Upper Swan residents affected by the odour – some say it burns their nose or their throat – are no doubt hoping that Planning Minister Rita Saffioti does not approve the proposed amendment before the City of Swan.
But an officer’s report – Initiation of Amendment No. 150 to local planning scheme No. 17 (LPS17) modification to existing additional use No. 36 of schedule 2 of LPS17 – Lot 16 (No. 1392) and Lot 32 (No. 1398) Great Northern Hwy, Upper Swan presented at the city’s August 30, 2017 meeting said the amendment was a standard amendment under section 35 of the Planning and development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 as the additional use “would have minimal impact on the amenity of surrounding properties as potential noise and odour impacts can be addressed via modifications to the relevant existing buildings on the land”.
Echo News asked the city if the amendment should be considered as a complex amendment – the regulations define a complex amendment as an amendment relating to development that is of a scale, or will have an impact, that is significant relative to development in the locality – especially when the future residential development of the immediate area is considered.
In reply City of Swan chief executive officer Mike Foley said with the conditions attached to the amendment – for example the manufacture of asphalt was not an included use – the activity should not adversely affect the amenity of the locality.
In December last year Aurora Environmental director Noel Davies said the noise and odour modelling his company had done for Bitutek showed once manufacturing started on the site there would be little change in the noise or odour from the premises, which was already allowed to store bitumen there before transporting it off site.
Mr Davies said the manufacturing would take place in a container inside a shipping container and any noise or odour would be minimal.
Rod Lundie from Bitutek said the company had sent the Environmental Protection Authority updated noise and odour modelling about two months ago but had not heard anything back from the authority yet.
Echo News has asked DWER if there is any requirement for a minimum separation distance of say 1km between bitumen processing facilities, which have the potential to cause odours as do the trucks transporting bitumen products, and residential properties.
By Anita McInnes