COUNCILLORS have taken a decisive step towards closing Mornington Peninsula Shire’s last rubbish tip, at Rye, after a long campaign to send all kerbside waste out of the municipality.
At their 14 September meeting, councillors resolved not to extend Rye landfill but to close the controversial Truemans Rd site from 30 June, 2018, conditional on what appears to be an easily met condition.
This condition is that the shire seeks expressions of interest by 14 December for kerbside waste disposal at a site “other than at the Rye landfill”. A site in Hallam Rd, Hampton Park, some half-hour from the peninsula, is considered a strong possibility.
No other site is available on the peninsula after the Environment Protection Authority’s refusal in 2013 to permit rubbish dumping at the disused Pioneer quarry at Arthurs Seat.
Councillors approved an amended motion, moved by Cr Hugh Fraser and seconded by Cr Anne Shaw, that included:
- Seeking expressions of interest for moving waste off the peninsula.
- Continuing the shire’s commitment to alternative waste technology, possibly including high-temperature incineration of waste.
- Expanding the weekly opt-in green waste service to include food.
- Introducing a weekly summer recycling service.
- Extending the free green waste weekend service to include the preceding Friday.
Councillors also approved deferring the shire’s waste and resource strategy to enable the expressions of interest process to proceed.
This resolution replaced the officers’ recommendation that Rye landfill be developed in stages “until an [alternative waste technology] is identified”. No such technology appears to be imminent and would likely only result from a state government initiative because of cost.
The report to councillors stated that 28 complaints about tip odour had been received since early June after a letterbox drop at the 2300 houses within 1.5 kilometres of the landfill publicised the establishment of a hotline.
The shire developed the hotline and an “odour surveillance program” in consultation with the EPA.
The report to councillors calculated that moving waste off the peninsula would cost between $55.88 and $58.38 a household at current prices over 30 years, compared with between $36.44 and $52.01 a household for full or part-development of Rye landfill.
It also stated that 65 per cent of the additional $6.5 million budgeted for waste would go to extending Rye.
The shire ran its own waste management strategy until a few years ago, when it lost its battle for independence and became part of the Metropolitan Waste Management Group.
Its policy, to keep shire waste in the shire, was defended with dire warnings of the distance – and cost – of taking shire rubbish more than 100 kilometres to Werribee or to slightly closer landfills at Sunshine or Deer Park.