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September 27th 2011
Cockle Bay site announced for transfer station

A magpie goose is a resident of Council's 'environmentally suitable site' 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.”

To add your comment,
or read those of others, see below

Cockle Bay site announced for transfer station
Wendy Tubman
September 27th 2011
So, once again World Heritage Magnetic Island's environment is sacrificed for human convenience. But it's not just the 'high value conservation area' that was Cockle Bay that will suffer, IF the site is approved by other levels of government. Given what we all know about the impact of carbon emissions and the climate, how any Councillor can justify transporting waste around the island any further than needs must, beats me. Oh yes, I can hear it already, what will this little bit of carbon do in the scheme of things? The answer: just another example of death by a thousand cuts - the situation that is played out over and over again on the Island. I live in Nelly Bay and argued for the site to be in Nelly. With the environmental state of the world, 'not in my back yard' shouldn't be enough any more. And, tell me again, how much did Council pay for the not one, but two independent expert studies that both rejected Cockle Bay on ALL grounds (environmental, social and economic)?
September 27th 2011
Gee, what a call. Theres a block of land loaded with animals that are protected by the state and feds and councils betting they can get permission to rubbish it in 2 years time. But what kind of bet is it? Looks like a political one cos theres a Council election much sooner than that and Trev can now say, well boys, we delivered. So when the 2 nd or 3 rd umpires call it a no ball and the crowd start spewing it will be al against those fat cats in Bris or canberra and eachother. But maggie needs to sort this problem and chances are they will have blown a fortune in getting approvals for something that isn't and then times up. Sounds like short term smart divide n rule politics but not adult behaviour.
September 27th 2011
Once again the environment is put last so we are all doomed - and so hopefully is this council!
Ben Chapman
September 27th 2011
I don’t understand!

Opinion was evenly divided and yet council still ignores two independently commissioned, expert reports, which concluded that the Picnic Bay site was the most suitable location for the waste transfer station on the basis of economic, social and environmental factors.

Out of the three locations, Cockle Bay was assessed as the least environmentally sound, least convenient and costing $500,000 more than the Picnic Bay site. What was the point of paying for two independent reports and asking for residents’ opinions? Appears the decision was already made.

Here goes another valuable and unique coastal fringe on world heritage Maggie.
Wendy Tubman
September 27th 2011
Bear in mind everyone that the ‘consultation’ that, according to Council, ‘showed residents evenly divided over a location for the facility’ was a ‘survey’ that required no voter registration, and copies of which were freely available. In other words, it was possible for individuals to ‘vote’ multiple times.

Could we please have more information about the ‘consultation’ on which Council based its costly decision to walk away from the two expert consultants’ reports?

And while Council is digging out this information, could they also please find and provide to the community written proof of the 30-year-old promise to move the facility made by a previous Council that, for some strange reason, Cr Roberts seems so very keen to honour.
September 28th 2011
Well put davo! & I'm sorry Wendy but I'm cynical enough to think that looking at the consultation process & asking for proof of promises made 30 years ago won't alter anything:(
The birds out there in that lagoon are magnificent- last chance to see............
September 29th 2011
Council has recently employed a new director of town planning with local expertise. Why bother?
October 1st 2011
so this is democracy in action - a divided vote and council makes the decision based on the loudest voices. The loser once again is the environment and generations to come.
October 18th 2011
When is this horrible backward country of ours going to legislate for the rights of nature?WE DO NOT OWN OUR CHILDREN,SLAVES,SPOUSES,LIKEWISE NATURE.It is high time this is realised federally,and by TCC.If we make waste,we live with it,not impose it on our fellow beings!

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