Waste company Lantrak’s decision to take Ipswich City Council to court over a deeply unpopular plan to develop one of a number of huge landfills on a coal mine is a slap in the face for locals, according to Lock the Gate Alliance.
Ipswich City Council did not make a decision before the deadline for the project, so it was recently automatically deemed a refusal.
Lantrak wants to use one of the coal mine’s residual voids, operated by controversial coal miner New Hope, to store 30 million cubic metres of building waste and a limited amount of restricted waste over a 30 to 50 year lifetime.
Since the dump was first mooted, locals have rallied in a bid to stop it, and have urged the Queensland Government to require New Hope to rehabilitate the land at its Jeebropilly coal mine site where the dump is planned. The Jeebropilly mine will cease production in 2020.
Willowbank Area Residents' Group (WAG) President George Hatchman said if Lantrak was victorious in court, it would devastate the local community of Willowbank and surrounds.
“We regard the current requirement for New Hope to rehabilitate the mine as a contract with the state on behalf of the residents. If the state allows the landfill it will have broken this promise. This undermines our confidence in any commitments relating to the landfill,” he said.
“We are worried about the dust and noise this dump would create. Lantrak in their development application had not considered the impact of the landfill on the amenity and quality of life of residents in the adjacent suburb of Willowbank.
“Many locals are deeply concerned about the impact the dump would have on traffic. By Lantrak's own estimates, the dump would result in an additional 160 trucks a day using an already congested section of the highway from Yamanto to the Amberley RAAF Base. That works out to an additional 14 trucks an hour and another truck every four minutes.
“That is going to have a frustrating and, worryingly, dangerous impact on other road users.”
“We are also worried about what this development would do to property prices. After all, who wants to live next to a waste dump? Willowbank will be stigmatised if the dump goes ahead.
Lock the Gate spokesperson Rick Humphries said New Hope should be forced to rehabilitate its mine voids, rather than allow them to be turned into a dump.
“New Hope likes to boast about its rehabilitation at its Acland site on the Darling Downs, but we know that it’s simply a PR exercise.
“At Jeebropilly New Hope is attempting to avoid the cost of rehabilitating the site by selling it to a landfill company. When there is money at stake New Hope is happy to ditch commitments to the local community so the company’s owners can profit at their expense.
“New Hope continued to assure Willowbank residents it was committed to rehabilitating Jeebropilly during community consultations even though they were negotiating with Lantrak behind the scenes to sell if for a landfill.
“New Hope’s dealings with the residents of Willowbank has been cynical and unethical.”