State waste money is taken back

Pierra Willix and Emily AceSouth Western Times

The State Government has withdrawn $4.2 million in funding that was allocated for a South West Regional Waste Facility after the funds sat unused for several years.

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan this week said given the State’s financial challenges, funding that could be put to more productive use could not be “sitting idle for long periods”.

The Bunbury Wellington Group of Councils, comprising local governments from across the South West, had last year moved forward with plans to develop the facility and settled on a site on Goodwood Road in Capel.

However, the Shire of Capel withdrew support months later on the back of public concerns about the site’s environmental sensitivity.

Capel Shire Council chief executive officer Paul Sheedy said the Government’s decision was “expected” following a number of extensions, but also “disappointing”.

“The fact we were not able to purchase the original operational site the money was set aside for (the Waste Transfer Station on Banksia Road) has meant we have virtually had to go back to square one and look at greenfield sites,” he said.

Mr Sheedy said the group must discuss alternative waste solutions – such as waste to energy – after the Capel community made it clear it would not support a waste site on a reserve which required clearing – an issue he believed would be replicated in other shires.

Capel Land Conservation District Committee member Michael Tichbon said he was not opposed to a waste facility on a degraded site where it would not contaminate groundwater.

“My opposition was based on very strong environmental grounds, not on the grounds I didn’t support a tip,” he said.

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