The Shire of Esperance have revealed the Environmental Scoping Document required as part of the EPA assessment for the proposed Landfill site at Kirwan Road could cost more than half a million dollars.
The document is designed to inform the shire what works the EPA need to have undertaken so that the Public Environmental Review Document can provide the community with confidence the proposal will meet the highest environmental standards.
The costings were deliberated by members of the Esperance Shire Council behind closed doors on Tuesday evening, February 26.
Council resolved to continue with the Public Environmental Review process and undertake the required works in a priority order, with chief executive officer Matthew Scott expected to advise council on the results of each study as they become available to allow council to reassess the decision to proceed.
As part of the resolution, council will also release the results of each study to the public.
Corporate Resources director Shane Burge said the figure of $560,300 was not out of the ballpark as far as the development of a new waste facility.
"It’s not out of the ballpark that these are the sort of figures required to develop a new waste facility," he said.
"The shire would need to undertake $268,000 worth of work for the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation approvals anyhow.
"The additional costs are essentially to go through the Public Environmental Review process.”
Chief executive officer Matthew Scott said the 41 work requirements identified in the endorsed Environmental Scoping Document will reduce any scientific uncertainty regarding hydrogeological and geological processes.
"The work to be undertaken should provide us and the community with an increased level of confidence that any risk associated with a modern waste management facility at Lot 12 Kirwan Road is rigorously considered by the EPA," he said.
Deputy Shire president Natalie Bowman agreed and said council had opted to continue working through the process and prioritise the issued of most concern to the community.
"We have prioritised the things that are required through the scoping document and we have chosen the ones that we think are of the most concern to the community," she said.
"If we come across something that suggests we cannot build the waste facility there, then we don’t continue to spend - it will come back to council and we will make a decision as to whether we move forward or not.
“It’s important to remember that, at this stage, there is nothing in the documentation that we have that said we cannot build a waste facility on this site environmentally safely.
“Bear with us - we are working through the process to ensure that no stone is left unturned."
The document was reviewed by the Authority’s board on December 13, where the shire received a formal endorsement.
At this stage, theEPA expect to finalise the assessment report for the Minister by October, 2019.