Planned Welshpool waste transfer station has nearby businesses worried


Local business operators want to stop a waste station being built in Welshpool: Dene Dethian, Brendan O’Reilly from Jason Windows, Gordon Lentz from Kent Removals & Storage and Richard Halbert from CSR.
Local business operators want to stop a waste station being built in Welshpool: Dene Dethian, Brendan O’Reilly from Jason Windows, Gordon Lentz from Kent Removals & Storage and Richard Halbert from CSR.

BUSINESS heavyweights are outraged about a waste transfer station proposed for Welshpool.

Senior company leaders predict staff losses, industrial action and business leaving the industrial precinct if Cleanaway Waste Management Ltd’s development proceeds.

At tonight’s meeting councillors will vote on a City of Canning recommendation to permit Cleanaway to operate a waste transfer station from 16-30 Sheffield Road subject to a raft of conditions.

If approved, 540 tonnes of solid waste, including food waste, will be processed at the site each day. Waste will be transported by delivery vehicles to the property, compacted and transferred off the site again by road trains.

A Cleanaway spokesman said the company had complied with all regulations and requests and if the multi-million dollar project received a green light from the council it would be up and running by early next year.

Aluminium windows and doors manufacturer Jason Windows has its award-winning office and showroom located directly opposite the proposed site for the facility.

Managing director Brendan O’Reilly said the odour, dust and traffic generated from the waste station would significantly affect his business.

He said staff representatives had indicated some staff would either be unwilling or unable to work in the environment due to health concerns if the waste facility went ahead.

“We envisage losing employees as a result, some of which have been with our company for many years.

“We have also been advised that industrial action could be a likely outcome, with employees seeking compensation if they find they can no longer work in our facility due to the significant reduction in amenity.”

Mr O’Reilly said it would be difficult to attract new staff if the waste transfer station was located opposite the business.

“These issues will have a significant financial impact on our business, which is heavily reliant on maintaining a large stable workforce as part of our ability to remain competitive in the market.”

He said the company had put on hold a decision to develop a planned powder coating operation at the site – the first of its kind in WA – until it knew whether the waste facility was going ahead.

“At this stage the Jason Windows board has decided to postpone a decision on investing in this new activity until the outcome of the waste transfer station application is known.

“If the waste transfer station is approved there is a possibility our planned expansion and investment will not proceed,” he said.

National building products company CSR has operated from Welshpool for more than 40 years.

CSR Gyprock & Fibre Cement regional general manager Richard Halbert said he was concerned about litter, odour and truck movements generated by the proposed facility.

He said a similar but smaller waste facility operated from nearby Kurnall Road and was causing odour problems in the area.

“If you get the wind from the right direction, it is a disgusting smell,” he said.

“My concern here is that the winds are more often easterly and we will cop a foul stench all down this street from something as big as this proposal.”

Mr Halbert said CSR’s Bradford Insulation business was on land located near the proposed waste station site and its lease was coming up for renewal next year.

“They are right at the point of deciding do they stay or go and I think the [council] decision could well influence whether they stay or go and that would leave a massive site empty if that happened.”

Local business operator Dene Dethian, who owns six industrial units next to the proposed waste transfer station site, said he would be selling up and moving out of Welshpool if the proposal went ahead.

Mr Dethian said traffic on roads in the area was already close to capacity and was set to increase with a container business and Kent Removals & Storage recently moving to the area.

“The general public, whenever they hear waste, they don’t want to be near it. It is going to be a long road of the doldrums in this end of Welshpool.”

Mr O’Reilly said the Jason Windows showroom and offices were purpose-built in 2010 and approximately $22 million was spent on developing the site.

He said the company employed more than 300 people and had between 18,000 and 20,000 members of the public visit each year.

“We own our own building here and when we chose this site we did a lot of research in terms of what were permitted uses.

“We would have had a very different view of this site had we known this was going in,” Mr O’Reilly said.

He said dust generated from the facility during its construction and ongoing operation would potentially increase the cost to his business due to causing greater defects and additional material waste.

A City officer’s report to the council said there would be 150 vehicle movements at the site each day, with waste collected from commercial premises such as shopping centres and restaurants.

The report said the increase in vehicle trips on local road was acceptable and Cleanaway proposed to manage potential odour using a mechanical ventilation system that includes a 27.5m high chimney stack. Dust at the site would be managed through a misting system installed within the building, the report said.