York Landfill

York landfill proposal unites in opposition

The Environmental Protection Authority completed its report into the Allawuna farm landfill project in May but the Environment Minister is yet to make a decision.

Environment Minister refuses to set date for landfill

The proposed Allawuna Farm landfill remains in limbo after the Environment Minister was pressed about dates in Parliament.
October 5, 2023
Peter W Lewis

ENVIRONMENT Minister Reece Whitby has refused to give a date for his determination of the Allawuna Farm landfill proposal, following a Question on Notice from Central Wheatbelt MLA Mia Davies, in state Parliament last week.

In a question to the Minister, Ms Davies said she referred to the proposed project by Alkina Holdings that if approved would see a landfill located at Allawuna Farm on the Great Southern Highway at the entrance to the historic town of York.

“I ask can the Minister confirm that the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) completed its report into this project in May, 2023 and can the Minister advise when the community can expect a determination on whether this project may proceed,’’ Ms Davies said.

“A project which threatens to disrupt and damage a pristine agricultural and tourism destination.’’

Mr Whitby said: “As the member will know the EPA is an independent statutory body and makes determinations largely around environmental issues and I respect that process. So, the EPA has made a determination, but it is yet for the government to make its decision, and indeed for me to make a decision.

“So, I will consider the EPA recommendation but will also consider the wider implications. I am aware of the views of the local community, I’m aware of the views of the local government and some of the aspirations in terms of tourism and other quality of life issues in the area and I will pay due consideration to those,” Mr Whitby said.

Ms Davies then asked a supplementary question.

“The second part of my question is when can the Minister advise when the community can expect a determination, given as you stated, when the project doesn’t comply with the Shire of York’s planning scheme, has not been recommended by the Joint Development Assessment Panel for the Midwest and Wheatbelt and has been rejected by the York community on numerous occasions,” Ms Davies said.

Mr Whitby said he acknowledged everything Ms Davies said, but repeated the earlier point he made about the EPA’s determination on environmental grounds.

“I’ll give due consideration and I’ll carefully consider this – I’m not going to give you a date here and now, but I’ll make a decision that is in the best interests of the community,” Mr Whitby said.

As reported in Echo News July 12 special report United opposition to York landfill proposal the EPA recommended environmental approval for a landfill proposal at Allawuna Farm, 15km west of York and adjacent to Perth’s water catchment.

Concerns have been raised that leachate could seep out of the landfill causing contamination of surface and groundwater, and while the EPA has acknowledged the potential for contamination they said the landfill’s design was consistent with industry practice and was suitable for the proposed location

A state government spokesperson said in its report, the EPA recognises the level of community concern and notes the proposal is not consistent with the Shire of York’s current planning scheme.

“The EPA’s recommendations are now subject to an appeals period. At the conclusion of the appeals process, consultation with relevant ministers, including the Minister for Planning and the Minister for Water, will occur.

“Land use planning as well as social and economic impacts will be considered before a final decision is made.”

Opponents of the landfill proposal include the shires of York, Toodyay and Mundaring, the York Business Association (YBA), the Avon Valley Residents Association (AVRA), and the Perth Hills Climate Change Interest Group (PHCCIG).

Protesters of the Allawuna landfill proposal out the front of Parliament House.

York Allawuna landfill protest

More than seventy protesters converged at Parliament House on August 9 to rally against the Allawuna farm landfill proposal.
August 24, 2023
Peter W Lewis

ORGANISERS of a protest on the steps of Parliament on Wednesday, August 9 against the Great Southern Highway landfill proposal for Allawuna Farm have declared the rally a huge success with more than 70 concerned residents attending.

Protest organiser Kay Davies said the community bus organised to ferry community members was full, with others carpooling to attend the event.

Following a display of colourful signs in protest of the landfill proposal, Mrs Davies presented a petition with 776 signatures collected over the past three weeks to Member for Agriculture Region Darren West MLC to table in Parliament.

Mrs Davies said Mr West and member for Central Wheatbelt Mia Davies MLA addressed the crowd and both agreed the landfill proposal wasn’t good.

“We have also called for an investigation into waste into regional areas – it seems like York, Toodyay, Bindoon and Chittering are being looked at as cheap and easy places to dump rubbish from the metropolitan area,” Mrs Davies said.

“We don’t want this landfill at Allawuna and we will keep fighting until the end – we are not going to give up,” she vowed.

The petition asks the state government to oppose the landfill proposal and to investigate landfills in regional areas and where they are putting them.

“The Allawuna site was chosen because the land was for sale and was the cheapest option,” Mrs Davies said.

York community bus heads to Parliament for protest

A bus service is available to York residents who wish to join in on the August 9 protest.
August 3, 2023
Peter W Lewis

ORGANISERS of a protest on the steps of Parliament on August 9 at 10.30am will use the town’s community bus to ferry opponents of the Great Southern Landfill proposal for Allawuna Farm.

Protest organiser Kay Davies said a community bus had been organised for members of the community who would prefer not to drive but still attend the rally.

The bus plans to leave from the York Recreation Centre at 8am and car pooling for the event will also be available.

During the rally, a petition will be handed to the Legislative Council to formally register the significant concerns surrounding the proposal and request that members of the council oppose the landfill.

Residents wishing to go by bus can contact driver Peter Wright on 0400 295 819 to confirm their seat.

Opponents of the landfill proposal include the shires of York, Toodyay and Mundaring, the York Business Association (YBA), the Avon Valley Residents Association (AVRA), and the Perth Hills Climate Change Interest Group (PHCCIG).

A Facebook event has been created to summarise all the details of the rally and provide updates and can be accessed through the following link.

Then premier Colin Barnett faces protestors in York during another protest held in York in 2013.

York landfill protestors to converge on Parliament

The proposal has already been through three JDAPS with a No vote recorded against the landfill at each sitting.
July 27, 2023

IN what has become an 11-year saga, a united front will converge on the steps of Parliament House next month when around 300 protestors to the latest Allawuna York land fill proposal will once again voice their opposition and present a petition to the state government.

The protest will be held on Wednesday August 9 at 10.30am along with the presentation of a petition by adjoining landowner Kay Davies to Agricultural Region MLC Darren West to table in the Legislative Council.

Mrs Davies’ petition outlines a number of specific concerns including leachate and contamination of the Mundaring Weir catchment area, national forest and parks, inconsistency with the Shire of York’s 2018 local planning scheme and opposition by the Mid-West joint development assessment panel, and transport of waste.

“The proposal does not align with the objectives of the Australian national waste policy and the draft Western Australia state waste infrastructure plan, and has significantly changed from the original SITA proposal that has been warehoused since 2012,” Mrs Davies said.

“This area relies entirely on surface and ground water and there are many concerns that the ground water has not been mapped in this region.’’

The petition requests the Legislative Council oppose the Great Southern Landfill and conduct an inquiry into waste management planning for the metropolitan area and risk management of the location of landfill sites in regional areas.

Mrs Davies said she put the petition together so York has another opportunity to object to the Allawuna Landfill and to hopefully get the Legislative Council to oppose the landfill and understand the amount of opposition the proposal has in the community.

“I would also like the Legislative Council to understand the consequences of their decision concerning the positioning of waste and the affects this is having on regional communities,” she said.

She has been involved in the fight against the Allawuna landfill since the proposal began in 2012 when Sita (now Suez) first proposed the landfill but later withdrew their application.

The proposal was then taken up by Alkina Holdings and is now before the Appeals Convenor, with 133 appeals being received.

The proposal has already been through three joint development assessment panels with a No vote recorded against the landfill at each sitting, with Mrs Davies speaking against the proposal in all three sittings.

Mrs Davies has also been granted intervener status during the two previous State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) proceedings with the proposal now into its third appeal at the tribunal.

Jeni McColl alongside the many signs she has created, some of which have been damaged. Pictures: Gera Kazakov

Signs of protest

July 13, 2023
Gera Kazakov

Published Echo News June 23, 2033

“I DIDN’T know what to do,” says Jeni McColl.
“What can I do to help stop this tip,” she said, before deciding to hand-paint protest signage against the proposed Allawuna tip in York.
Because of Mrs McColl, anyone who drives along Great Southern Highway would have seen the vibrant signage bringing opposition against the proposed landfill into focus.
For Mrs McColl and her husband Ian, the fight against the proposed landfill site is personal – they live right next to the proposed site.
But it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Mrs McColl and her signs, who said that originally the Shire of York was opposed to her signs being placed along the highway and around town.
But it was a minor hiccup for her, as she said after that she was inundated with calls from the community offering her solutions.
“We got a call from a fella somewhere out in the Wheatbelt, and he said, ‘if you put them on three hay-bales [the shire] can’t touch it,’ someone else said to put them on wheels and [the shire] can’t touch them,” she said.
And now the tables have turned, as the Shire of York is against the proposed site, even going so far as to lodge an appeal against the site to the Appeals Convenor.
“But now, the shire is against the rubbish tip and they’re for us, so they’ve supported us putting the signs out, and that is very important.
“They love the signs being put up,” she said.
Another issue for Mrs McColl and her signs is thieves. One of the first signs she put up was stolen, which had her favourite message on it: “Welcome to York, WA’s first inland town rubbish tip.”
“It was a beauty wasn’t it, it was highlighted everywhere, because it was so dramatic.
“That was a really good sign,” she said.
Mrs McColl is self-taught in the art of signwriting and said she didn’t let her inexperience stop her from making the signs.
“I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, but I had a good idea, because I’d done a bit in Alice Springs,” she said.
Avon Valley Residents Association Chair Keith Schekkerman said Jeni’s signs have played a crucial part in the public awareness campaign about the landfill.
“Her signs demand so much attention that they are stolen on a regular basis.
“Jeni is a talented graphic artist with skills she readily adapted into signwriting,” said Mr Schekkerman.

York resident Pauline is concerned about the environmental and traffic issues.

Petition against York landfill gains momentum

July 12, 2023
Peter W Lewis

Published Echo News June 16, 2023

The York Business Association (YBA) is circulating a petition which has already attracted more than 700 signatories against the proposed York landfill development to be presented to Parliament.
Association president Karen Thomas said while no formal protests have been planned at this stage the group has encouraged members to lobby the relevant ministers and submit an objection to the EPA decision which cut off this week on Wednesday, June 14.
“After we find out the result of this stage of the recommendation we will plan our next move.
“We have gone back to grass roots as most local people thought the whole thing was over and we felt we needed to make them aware that it is ongoing and, if we do nothing it will definitely go ahead,” she said.
“So far, we have done the most work with the petitions and posts on various facebook pages targeting both the community and visitors and any useful contact anyone has.
“Support and awareness is growing each day.
“This time round there seems to be more involvement by locals and most are quite angry. While many are concerned about the environmental issues they are also worried about the extra truck traffic on a road that many frequently use.
“The journey back and forth to Perth is a hazardous enough trip at the best of times with the amount of trucks currently using this route.
“There are also a lot of people working in York but not living here as well as visitors coming on a regular basis to visit family and friends.”
She said the Shire of York was working on it from a legal perspective and a lot of people and groups involved in the previous fight are continuing their good work.
“I figure we need to come at it from as many angles as possible.”
The YBA was only formed in 2017 and has become a lot more active in the last two years working closely with local businesses and the shire to improve outcomes for all of York by running forums for businesses plus various other promotions.

Farmer Ian McColl, whose farm borders the Allawuna farm property is against the landfill proposal.

United opposition to York landfill proposal

July 12, 2023
Peter W Lewis

Published JUne 2, 2023

IN a blow to the decades old fight against the Shire of York being used as the dumping ground for Perth’s waste last week the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) recommended environmental approval for a landfill proposal at Allawuna Farm, 15km west of York and adjacent to Perth’s water catchment.
Concerns have been raised that leachate could seep out of the landfill causing contamination of surface and groundwater, and while the EPA has acknowledged the potential for contamination they said the landfill’s design was consistent with industry practice and was suitable for the proposed location
The shires of York and Mundaring, along with the Avon Valley Residents Association and York Business Association, are united in their opposition to the proposal by Alkina Holdings’s Great Southern Landfill which the EPA has recommended for approval subject to strict conditions, with the short appeal period to close on June 12.
York President Denese Smythe told Echo News a petition was being circulated by the York Business Association to present to the Premier with a letter along with letters to the Environment and Tourism Ministers.
Cr Smythe said the proposal could expect 120 truck movements a day, with landfill trucks leaving every 15-20 minutes along with BGC quarry, grain and hay trucks that use the Great Southern Highway.
“York has just won a silver medal in the Tourism Awards and this week we have a kids festival, but I am concerned if in the future people will want to drive if they have to contend with that number of trucks,” she said.
“Council has vowed to fight the decision and has instructed our CEO to obtain legal and planning advice to put in an appeal to the EPA Appeals Convener.
Our planning scheme says no tips and we changed our planning scheme in 2018 to reflect that.”
Mundaring President James Martin said the shire was concerned with the potential impacts of leachate flow to the downstream water catchment areas, and the increase in truck traffic on Great Eastern Highway through townsites and residential areas of the Shire of Mundaring.
“We have previously been opposed to similar proposals and in earlier submissions the Shire of York and the Joint Wheatbelt Development Assessment Panel have considered the landfill application and comments received and twice rejected the proposal,” Cr Martin said.
He said a SAT directions was scheduled for hearing on Friday, June 2 to consider an appeal, which has been vacated and relisted to August 4.
“It is the seventh time since September 2021 the hearing has been deferred.”
Avon Valley Residents Association chair and former York Shire councillor Keith Schekkerman said the Planning Minister should explain why this proposal was progressing without planning approval.
“The farm in question is right next to the Mundaring water catchment and this alone should raise some alarm bells,” Mr Schekkerman said.
“Landfills will leak and over time pollute the water table, which in all likelihood is connected to the catchment area.
“The approval leaves two major issues unresolved.
“The transport of 250,000 tonnes of rubbish from Kewdale to York and the lack of planning approval for the project.
He warned the Mundaring and hills community would be greatly impacted by the transport issue creating an endless stream of road trains coming up the hill and through Mundaring.
“It is estimated a road train will leave every 15 minutes and it is inevitable they will catch up with each other.
But these road trains also need to return to their depot, so road trains will be going both ways right through Mundaring and the hills.’’
The proposal to operate a landfill for receiving Class II or III solid waste of up to 250,000 tonnes a year includes up to seven landfill cells, leachate ponds, stormwater retention ponds, sediment management structures, stormwater diversion structures and an upgrade to the access road and Great Southern Highway intersection.
When recommending the proposal the EPA noted the consideration of some impacts to society, economic benefit and land use planning were outside its legal remit under Part IV of the Environmental Protection Act 1986.
An EPA release urged consultation across all relevant state government portfolios to ensure matters the EPA was unable to consider were fully regarded, particularly with respect to land use planning and other social and economic impacts.

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