Council poised to accept Alcoa plan

The amendment relates to the rezoning of 283 hectares of Alcoa land on Oakley Road from rural to special use zoning for the relocation of water storage ponds.

The council has placed a number of conditions on the proposal including that Alcoa will not be allowed to change the proposed refinery water storage infrastructure into residue storage.

Other stringent conditions imposed include minimising the development footprint and the implementation of technical studies to be submitted with the planning application.

Alcoa must also complete a visual amenity plan to replace vegetation cleared for the proposed development.

The council received almost 50 submissions and a 74-signature petition citing dust and noise, impacts on and devaluation of surrounding properties and the risk to the community of long-term health concerns.

Chief executive Dean Unsworth told last week’s council meeting that the Alcoa operation in Pinjarra was imperative to the economic growth of the Murray region.

He said adoption of the amendment would enable the company to undertake detailed engineering studies for the proposed infrastructure, with the intention of lodging a planning application and a Department of Environment and Conservation works approval application in 2014.

David Honey, Alcoa WA Operations Residue manager David Honey told an earlier council meeting that Alcoa did not intend to build residue storage areas closer to the Pinjarra town centre.

Alcoa is required to decommission the refinery water storage dams in the rezoned area after the permanent closure of the Pinjarra refinery.