Tip passes in jeopardy

TIP PASSES might get scrapped in four years unless Cockburn council redevelops its landfill site in Henderson.

The council on Thursday evening considered a $22 million business plan to redevelop the site and extend its life until 2040, with a warning that unless something is done it would have to be fully capped and abandoned in 3.8 years.

Opened in 1990, the Henderson Waste Recovery Park takes in about 70,000 tonnes of waste a year and is a nice earner for the council, helping to fund sport facilities, park equipment and libraries.

But the seventh and final “cell” will be full in less than four years and the community drop-off point sits on top of the only other available space. It’s on old cells that had been filled, but with decomposition the rubbish has compacted and they could be recommissioned for another 10 years if the drop-off point was relocated.

It’s also creating a headache for tip staff, as the unsteady ground means its often full of puddles and potholes, while the buildings were only meant to be temporary and are now pretty ramshackle.

“Landfill closure could precipitate the cancellation of all trailer passes to residents who deliver on average 15,000 tonnes pa to the temporary transfer station,” the business plan notes.

“The city collects 5,000tpa as part of the bulk hard and greenwaste service from verges currently.

“The city could attempts to collect this additional 15,000tpa from verges at an additional cost to ratepayers.”

The report also noted that the city had been tardy in capping its used cells, which had caused them to flood and on three occasions in July last year “leachates” spilled out into the surrounding environment.

Environmental risk

“This issue poses a huge environmental and financial risk to the city,” the report noted.

The city might need to take out a $5m loan for the redevelopment, but is hoping it might be able to sell some land in the Latitude 32 industrial area instead.

The council is also hoping to attract other waste companies such as recyclers to lease sites within the redevelopment to help its return on the investment, estimated to be $35.5m over the life of the project.

 The council in the end deferred a decision on the business plan for another month so it could be discussed further at an elected members’ briefing.

by STEVE GRANT

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