THE Yangebup Progress Association will host a community forum with Cockburn Cement in a bid to diffuse long-running tensions over dust and odours.
The Russell Road plant has a chequered history with locals, who have complained for years about pungent odours and dust emissions causing itchy eyes, asthma and headaches.
Cockburn Labor MP Fran Logan says he received a batch of new complaints from Munster locals about smells and dust late last year. In response to the complaints, Cr Philip Eva and Mr Logan toured the plant: dust was seen escaping from a door left open on a hopper.
“A simple thing like [failing to close] the door to stop the escape of cement dust is just unacceptable for a giant company, they just have to improve their own housekeeping onsite,” Mr Logan says.
“Even though the cement kilns now no longer operate, various point sources of dust could still be seen during our visit and I pointed these out to management.
“To be honest, I cannot understand why it takes the local MP to highlight where Cockburn Cement is emitting cement and lime dust into the atmosphere.
“On the issue of the odour, CCL deny that it is coming from their plant, even though locals who know this smell swear it is.”
Mr Logan says there were two separate areas where small levels of lime dust were visibly released and one from the cement hoppers.
He contacted WA environment minister Albert Jacob with his findings, who replied his department had organised a full compliance inspection this month, and had commenced a formal investigation into odour emissions, with initial findings suggesting there may be more than one source generating the smell.
In March last year, CC’s licence was amended to include an odour verification plan.
“Recent changes to the site have resulted in substantial improvements in site operations and a significant reduction of dust emissions and related complaints,” Mr Jacob wrote.
Progress association president Chontelle Sands toured the site in November and was impressed by improvements.
“Listen, I’m not saying that everything is perfect, but improvements have been made and I think the public should be informed of all the facts,” she says.
“The forum is a chance for the community to ask questions directly to CC management and thrash things out.
“Hopefully by the end of it, we might have some points that can be taken away and actioned to improve things.”
Mr Logan says he will attend the forum, to be held February 9 at a Yangebup venue yet to be determined.
by STEPHEN POLLOCK