The Environment Protection Authority is set to investigate the environmental and social factors for the proposed landfill site on Kirwan Road.
In a statement released early Monday, February 19, the Shire said both they and other community members had requested the assessment in the hopes it would provide confidence to all proponents that an independent environmental assessment would be completed.
The Shire first requested the assessment in October of 2017, the first step in a number of environmental approvals required for the establishment of a new landfill.
Shire President Victoria Brown said the shire welcomed the decision.
“The Esperance environment is a priority to Council and any potential impacts must be been fully investigated to determine if this location is the right place to build a landfill site,” she said.
“We do not want to build a landfill site in a location that may cause damage to our beautiful natural assets.
“A modern waste management facility is always going to create angst amongst those who live nearby and we all need to be certain that a new landfill site will have no significant impact on the surrounding environment, the neighbours and the community.”
The announcement comes just weeks after a motion was moved to abandon the site at the Annual Electors Meeting on January 30.
The motion saw Esperance Merivale Tip Action Group president Mark Biven propose Council abandon the current Tip site and ‘immediately’ focus on an ‘appropriate site’.
Speaking to the motion, Mr Biven said the group were ‘disappointed’ by the way that the process had been handled by the shire.
Mr Biven stated his ‘frustration’ with attempting to get through to the elected councillors and felt that time and money was being wasted on pursuing a tip in the ‘wrong place’.
Local action group member Nicole Chalmer spoke for the motion and said the site selection process by the shire had been carried out in a ‘back to front’ manner.
“The site is one of the most beautiful spots of Esperance and the gateway to Cape Le Grand National Park,” she said.
“A rubbish tip would make alternative land use, small scale land division or tourist enterprises impossible for at least a generation or more.”
The Shire and relevant consultants will now commence work on a Scoping Document, detailing future works required to address the key environmental attributes identified by the Environment Protection Authority.
The Key Environmental Attributes outlined for assessment are:
• Inland Waters Environmental Quality - catchments
• Hydrological Processes - ground and surface water
• Social Surroundings - amenity including odour, noise, tourism etc
• Terrestrial Environmental Quality – soil contamination