September 27th 2011
Cockle Bay site announced for transfer station
Claiming it to be, "on an environmentally suitable site," a full meeting of Townsville City Council today approved Cockle Bay as the site for the proposed waste transfer station and green waste processing on Magnetic Island.
The transfer station and the transportation of waste from the island to the mainland will replace the current Picnic Bay landfill operations when the facility runs out of room in around two years time.
Council made today’s decision after consulting the community on three options - the preferred site on the current landfill operation at Picnic Bay, Cockle Bay and Nelly Bay.
According to a TCC press release, results of the consultation showed residents evenly divided over a location for the facility.
Environment and Sustainability Committee chairman Cr Vern Veitch said the decision was a win for the residents of Picnic Bay who had lived with the landfill operations at their backdoor for the past 30 years.
“Ultimately, the decision to locate the facility away from residential areas has put residents and lifestyle first,” Cr Veitch said.
“Picnic Bay was favoured slightly on estimated cost, but at the end of the day establishing the transfer station on an environmentally acceptable site near the sewerage plant in Cockle Bay will have a far greater community benefit.
As reported by Magnetic Times in 2005, Island resident and ecological scientist, Gethin Morgan, said that the land in question "contains remnant vegetation that has significant environmental and ecological values." adding that "threatened (fauna) species...are undoubtedly present on the land."
A view of the site which extends to the edge of the wetland which is home to many bird species including the magpie geese visible just above the reed bed.
In a letter to TCC in 2003 Mr Morgan noted that the land in question "is likely to be important in ensuring the continuing survival of these species (below) regionally and on the island. Rare and threatened fauna likely to be present on Lot 2 include: Single-striped delma (Delma labialis), (now proved to exist on the site by zoologist Eric Vanderduys) which is limited to the Townsville area and listed as vulnerable under the Queensland Nature Conservation (Wildlife) Regulation (1994); Saxicoline sunskink (Lampropholis mirabilis), which is limited to the Townsville area and listed as rare under the Queensland Nature Conservation (Wildlife) Regulation (1994); Rusty monitor (Varanus semiremex), listed as rare under the Queensland Nature Conservation (Wildlife) Regulation (1994); Sadlier's dwarf skink (Menetia sadlieri), which appears to be endemic to Magnetic Island and is listed as rare or insufficiently known under the Commonwealth Action Plan for Reptiles (Cogger et al. 1993); Common death adder Acanthophis antarcticus), listed as rare under the Queensland Nature Conservation (Wildlife) Regulation (1994); Coastal sheathtail bat (Taphozous australis): The rocky slopes of Magnetic Island are likely to contain roost sites, and the timbered lowlands of Lot 2 to be feeding habitat. The bat is listed as vulnerable under the Queensland Nature Conservation (Wildlife) Regulation (1994). (read full story here)
“On latest estimates, the current landfill has two years of life left which will give the council time to work with the State and Federal Governments on the necessary approvals and designs for Cockle Bay.” said Cr Veitch.
Local Councillor Trevor Roberts said the council had made good on a promise made 30 years ago to move the waste operations our of Picnic Bay.
“This is a great and just result for the people of Picnic Bay,” Cr Roberts said.
“They were originally told the land fill was temporary and would only be there for 10 years and then moved to Bolger Bay – that was 30 years ago.
“I’m over the moon that the council supported my motion today to go with Cockle Bay and finally follow through on a promise to those Picnic Bay residents.
“Picnic Bay was slightly less costly, but there was not enough weighting on the residential impacts in the surrounding area.
“When you take into account the noise, dust and impact on property values, the community benefit in moving the transfer station to Cockle Bay away from residential areas far outweighs the difference in costs.”
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