South Metropolitan Regional Council proposed waste plan in jeopardy

South Metropolitan Regional Council proposed waste plan in jeopardy

In a risk analysis presented to the council, City of Melville officers reported that an independent three-bin system in Cockburn, currently being trialled in Hamilton Hill but slated for full implementation on July 1, could result in a $7 million budget deficit to the SMRC.

“The City of Cockburn trial proposed to divert the contents of the garden organics bin… to the Henderson Waste Recovery Park,” officers said.

“By doing so, this would have resulted in a reduced organic content being delivered to the waste composting facility at the Regional Resource Recovery Centre (RRRC).

“Although none of the project participants supported this amendment, the City of Cockburn has introduced a three-bin trial, and has been diverting and processing garden organics at their Henderson Waste Recovery Park, which is considered to be a deliberate breach of the project participants’ agreement.”

SMRC chairman and City of Melville deputy mayor Cameron Schuster confirmed the City of Cockburn was acting in violation of the agreement with the SMRC but said the financial implications were not yet severe.

“In September 2015, the City of Cockburn made a formal request to their fellow Regional Resource Recovery Centre project participants to be released from some of their obligations for a trial period,” he said.

“Their request was rejected by all project participants.

“The financial loss as a result of reduced tonnage from the City of Cockburn’s actions is projected to be $200,000 over the 12-month trial period.

“The SMRC’s total operating income budget for 2015-16 is $30.1 million.”

City of Cockburn director of engineering and works services Charles Sullivan said the preliminary results of the independent three-bin trial were “very pleasing” and that the City would review the outcome more thoroughly as part of its 2016-17 budget preparation.

“The City embarked on the trial and has offered to share all of the findings with the other members of the SMRC; a briefing has been offered to them in early May,” Mr Sullivan said.

“Should Council decide to implement a third bin for green waste, the City has the capacity to process this at the Henderson Waste facility.

“The SMRC is also currently assessing tenders for the potential sale of its material recovery facility for recyclables, so there is the potential for the private sector to provide this service in future, as happens for most other local governments.

“While the municipal solid waste would still be processed by the SMRC, the residual life of this asset is reasonably short, so replacement technologies need to be considered.”

Mr Sullivan would not rule out the City of Cockburn withdrawing from the SMRC all together.

“The City has been reviewing its Strategic Waste Management Plan, which included residential and commercial waste processing elements,” he said.

“The City’s elected members have received and been briefed on the first-stage results of the trial, with a further briefing on other aspects of the strategic review arranged for late April.”