Bunbury Harvey Regional Council’s request for up to $585,000 in additional funding approved by Harvey Shire

Headshot of Sean Van Der Wielen
Sean Van Der WielenSouth Western Times
The Bunbury-Harvey Regional Council is asking its two member councils for up to $1.3 million.
Camera IconThe Bunbury-Harvey Regional Council is asking its two member councils for up to $1.3 million. Credit: Sean Van Der Wielen/Harvey-Waroona Reporter

The organisation behind a South West regional waste facility is one step closer to resolving its financial woes after a decision by one of its member councils.

Shire of Harvey councillors voted unanimously at their meeting on Tuesday night to approve the Bunbury Harvey Regional Council’s request for up to $585,000 in funding from the Shire this financial year, with no debate being held on the motion.

The BHRC has also requested up to $715,000 in funding from the City of Bunbury as the other member council, bringing the total request amount to up to $1.3 million.

The BHRC is requesting the two local governments foot the bill to keep the Stanley Road Waste Management Facility in Australind open amid a suspension in operations brought about by the issuing of an Environmental Protection Notice by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation last year.

In her report to the board as part of its annual budget deliberations, BHRC finance manager Susan Beeson said the notice directed the council to stop taking commercial waste, with the facility having not accepted council waste since March this year.

“With the diversion of both commercial and municipal waste, BHRC is unable to generate the necessary income to support the full cost of current service provision,” she said.

The contribution request is being made on a 55:45 basis with the Bunbury and Harvey councils respectively due to their previous proportionate usage of the site for their local government waste services.

As part of its draft agenda for Tuesday’s meeting, the City of Bunbury is set to propose a 50:50 split due to the average use of the site by both councils over the last eight years.

As it currently stands, waste from both councils as well as any waste received by the BHRC’s transfer station is currently being diverted to Cleanaway’s Dardanup landfill site.

The issues with the site stem from the facility’s historic use of what is known as unlined cells, which do not have barriers to stop decomposing material from leaching into nearby soil and groundwater.

DWER required all the unlined cells at the site to be ‘capped’ by June this year to prevent further groundwater contamination, after the facility was found to be responsible for the contamination of groundwater with per-and-polyfluoroalkyl substances, more commonly known as PFAS.

Speaking before the meeting, Harvey Shire president Paul Gillett said he hoped the site would have a better setup going into the future.

“Given the legacy issues we have, both member councils have a duty to rectify the issues,” he said.

“We are bringing the site up to contemporary standards, which means more stringent requirements given where it is located on the Swan Coastal Plain.”

The City of Bunbury was contacted for comment.

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