Joint forces fight landfill

Avon Valley residents are fighting against the building of landfill sites near York and Toodyay.
Avon Valley residents are fighting against the building of landfill sites near York and Toodyay.

The AVRA has been fighting with the State Government and waste management firm SITA over the proposed development of a new landfill site on Allawuna Farm, about 18km west of York.

Toodyay residents are opposed to Opal Vale Pty Ltd’s construction of a class II landfill site on Chitty Road, West Toodyay.

The landfill could accept asbestos and certain types of biomedical waste that may be regarded as hazardous, but which have been disposed of safely, as well as other contaminated solids.

AVRA president Keith Schekkerman said the group would support Toodyay residents in their fight.

It has been estimated that if the project is approved, there could be up to 200 trucks a day on Toodyay Road and surrounding links to the Chitty Road site.

A community meeting has been called for 10am next Saturday in the Toodyay Memorial Hall to discuss the proposal and to learn more about landfills in the Avon Valley.

Alice Bernal, one of the event organisers, said the battle with Opal Vale had been running for a long time.

‘In 1998, Opal Vale applied for a Class IV Landfill on Lot 11 Chitty Rd. This application was defeated, due to the strong public outcry,’ Ms Bernal said.

Opal Vale submitted another application in 2009 for a Class II Landfill on the same site.

‘A further updated version of the 2009 application was submitted in 2012, in which the company increased the pit capacity from 50,000 to 150,000 tonnes a year,’ she said. The Toodyay Shire council voted unanimously against that plan in July 2012 because of environmental concerns and conflicts with the shire’s planning objectives.

Opal Vale appealed to the State Administrative Tribunal and the case was heard in February this year.

The SAT approved the Class II Landfill, but ruled approval was subject to Opal Vale being granted a Department of Environment and Conservation licence.

Ms Bernal said the community’s last chance to oppose the landfill lay with the DEC.

‘We are working together so the voices of the people in the Avon Valley will be heard,’ Ms Bernal said.