July 28th 2011
Letter: Why Cockle Bay is the best location
In advance of a resident briefing to be held on Saturday over the siting of the yet-to-be-constructed Magnetic Island Waste Transfer Station, Dr Geoffrey P. Dobson, a holiday home owner at Picnic Bay makes his case against Picnic Bay being the location for the MI Waste Transfer Station.
Why the Waste Transfer Station should NOT be at PICNIC BAY:
Environmental, Health, Safety and Business Concerns
The Townsville City Council has the civil obligation to provide leadership and direction on strategic planning on Magnetic Island. This civil obligation extends to the local residents, holiday-makers and business community of Picnic Bay. If the proposed location of the Waste Transfer Station is built at the current Picnic Bay landfill site, the exponential increase volume of waste, trucks and roll-on, roll-off bins would compromise the day-to-day quality of life and safety of its residents, destroy local tourism and negatively impact on the business revitalization plans of the Picnic Bay Mall. In addition, the Waste Station has the potential to reduce property values and displace community activity.
Picnic Bay is an historic site and the construction and fully operational Waste Transfer Station in this area will also affect the local environment.
Placement of the Waste Transfer Station at Picnic Bay will negatively impact on the pristine marine environment of the Bay from possible seepage of waste and existing pollutants into the underground NATURAL watercourse. This natural watercourse directly flows via Butler Creek into Picnic Bay from the site and degrades values and use*, and is intensified after large rainfalls. On July 11, 2011 Locals have documented in the Magnetic Community News (Vol 22, Issue 11; author Mr John Smeaton) that they have had waste in their properties from the landfill after a heavy rainfall.
*Reference: From “Human Uses and values of Waterways”: Results from the Magnetic Island Workshop (Tuesday 22 July 2008, Acadia, as parto Black/Ross water Quality Improvement Plan (WQIP). http://www.docstoc.com/docs/31650353/%28Microsoft-Word---black-ross-human-use-table-MIslandv6-workshop
Reasons for why the Water Transfer Station should NOT be constructed at Picnic Bay are the following:
HEALTH AND SAFETY CONCERNS
*Loss of Resident’s Health and Safety (Picnic Bay has an elderly population with respiratory and cardiovascular disease).
*Poor air quality and related health concerns from emissions of idling diesel-fueled trucks waiting to unload and from particulate matter such as dust and glass from the facility.
*Large volume of trucks as a potential danger to pedestrians along the very narrow roads and turning into the facility location.
*Increase in disease-carrying vectors such as rodents, other vermin, roaches because the facility is outdoors
*Increased noise, odor, litter, and turning traffic
*Fire from self-combustion of waste and its impact on residences of Picnic Bay
*Straining of the current health care facilities and the high cost of health care on Magnetic Island.
NUSIANCE AND QUALITY OF LIFE
*Loss of Quality of Life in Picnic Bay from noise, dust and odor which will be intolerable to nearby residents
*Loss of tourism which is vital for Island business
*A visual Eyesore: Dust-laden, unsightly “recycling” activities will take place in open air. Piles of trash/material will accumulate and is located along the roadside. Fences will NOT solve this problem as there is only one roadway entrance to Picnic Bay, with proposed site location on the right hand side coming down the hill.
*The construction and full-operation of the facility will disturb current fill and has the potential to shift the existing underground pollutants and toxic wastes, in addition to adding new ones, into the watercourse which which flows directly into the sea and will threaten the fragile marine life of Picnic Bay.
*Displace community revitalization plans and diminish waterfront economic activity
*Reduced future development of golf course
*Incompatibility with natural park heritage of Magnetic Island and adjacent community land use
*Reduction or Loss of Heritage Status of Picnic bay
*Picnic bay roads are narrow and in poor condition and trucks turning will constitute a major traffic concern and hazard.
*The eye-sore of a fully operational waste transfer station will further depress nearby property values and will contribute to the exodus of the already scant local businesses opportunities in the area.
*The waste transfer station will negatively impact on the development of the Picnic Bay foreshore, and will reduce jobs and services into the neighborhood.
The Waste Transfer Station will have a profound negative social and environmental impact on the local and wider Magnetic Island community if located at Picnic Bay. Its construction and continual roll-on, roll-off bins will compromise resident’s health, safety and violate the environmental sensitivities of a World Heritage area. It will increase noise pollution and it will destroy the majestic beauty of Picnic Bay. It will negatively impact on the local residents, the weekenders, holidaymakers and nature-lovers and it will reduce the business opportunities in the area, which have deteriorated dramatically after the relocation of the Ferry terminal to Nelly Bay. The construction and full-operation of the facility will disturb current landfill and has the potential to shift the existing underground pollutants and toxic wastes and release them into the sea and threaten fragile marine life in the Bay. This natural watercourse directly flows via Butler Creek into Picnic Bay from the site and degrades values and use*, and is intensified after large rainfalls. On July 11, 2011 Locals have documented in the Magnetic Community News (Vol 22, Issue 11; author Mr John Smeaton) that they have had waste in their properties from the landfill after a heavy rainfall. It is also the unseen pollutants that is an environmental concern. The Townsville City Council has the civil obligation to provide leadership and direction on strategic planning ensuring the health, safety and business opportunities, including tourism, of Picnic Bay residents and to the environment.
WHY COCKLE BAY: It would be far less costly in the long term to place the Waste Transfer Station at Cockle Bay. Cockle Bay is therefore an ideal site as it already has an existing sewerage plant and it will have less social, health and environmental impact compared with Picnic Bay.
Dr. Geoffrey P. Dobson