Rubbish tip plan dead

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dromana pioneer quarry 19-02-2013 cmyk by yanni 01THE controversial Dromana quarry tip plan is dead.

Quarry owners R E Ross Trust will officially announce on Tuesday it will not appeal the Environment Protection Authority’s refusal to grant a permit, which was handed down last month.

The decision brings to an end one of the most controversial and hated proposals on the southern peninsula for many years.

A government source told The News that Ross Trust chairman Ian Vaughan would announce the decision on Tuesday night at a meeting of Peninsula Waste Management’s community reference group.

Ross Trust owns PWM as well as Hillview Quarries in Dromana.

The decision will be greeted with acclaim by more than 22,000 people who have signed petitions as well as main objector group Peninsula Preservation Group, formed specifically to oppose the tip earlier this year.

The decision is a blow to Mornington Peninsula Region Waste Management Group, of which Mornington Peninsula Shire is the sole member, as it had earmarked the quarry as the next rubbish tip for the peninsula with the existing Rye landfill rapidly filling.

The EPA on Friday 13 September knocked back the application for the rubbish tip, or landfill, in the old Pioneer quarry on the Arthurs Seat escarpment at Dromana.

The proponent had 21 days to say if it was challenging the EPA’s decision in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Peninsula Waste Management wanted to dump up to 150,000 tonnes of municipal waste a year for up to 20 years in the old quarry.

Less than a third would have come from peninsula residents with the balance from other municipalities.

Last month the EPA said the proposal did not comply with “threshold issues around groundwater, construction design and management”.

The proposal generated massive opposition on the peninsula and the formation of high-powered lobby group PPG whose members included successful business people, lawyers, scientists, doctors and teachers.

PPG members had been working behind the scenes since February including lobbying state government ministers.

One of the more obvious signs of opposition was the large number of placards placed on fences and nature strips of private properties in Dromana, Red Hill and Arthurs Seat as well as further afield.

Opposition to the tip gathered momentum in June when more than 500 people packed Dromana Hall for the first public meeting of PPG.

Many had heard little detail of the plan and were appalled.

More than 1000 protesters formed a human sign reading “No tip” at a Dromana reserve near the quarry in August.

That same month more than 450 objectors signed up to attend an EPA conference to hear PPG members grill PWM, its consultants and members of the Ross Trust.

EPA boss John Merritt said it was the biggest conference the agency had run. The EPA was aware of the “community angst” and had received 900 submissions, most against the tip, he said.

Any likelihood of the tip going ahead faded late last month when the state government released two draft plans for waste recovery that move away from landfills and toward building waste recovery and sorting hubs.

The government in August said it would reduce the state’s waste management groups from 12 to six, and force Mornington Peninsula Region Waste Management Group to join the Metropolitan Waste Management Group, which has no plans to open more tips.

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