By Madeleine Stuchbery
A WEEK before the Bass Coast Shire Council is due to make a decision regarding the future of the Inverloch Transfer Station, councillors have been asked to consider the environmental impact should the facility remain open.
Presenting photographs documenting the damage and detritus encroaching upon the waterways near the transfer station, local resident Ed Thexton made an impassioned plea to the council.
“I want to encourage the council to close this tip. The community of Inverloch is not represented by the loud voices,” Mr Thexton said.
“There is a whole group of people within the broader community who think that a tip like that doesn’t belong anymore in a landscape like Inverloch.
“If anybody doesn’t think that it needs rehabilitation, the site itself shows otherwise.”
Mr Thexton was employed 30 years ago by the local governments of Heidelberg, Preston and Northcote as the Darebin Creek Coordinator, and has experience in the rehabilitation of waterways.
“Vast tips littered the lower 10 kilometres of the Darebin, with millions of dollars having been poured into their rehabilitation,” Mr Thexton said.
“Then I moved to Inverloch. Here the tip still displays the legacy of sewering the town about 50 years ago, right next to the Transfer Station in plain sight.
“Night cans litter the banks of the Little Screw Creek, along with bottles, debris and what appears to be asbestos falling into the water as the twice daily tidal ebb and flow erodes the old dump face.
“I have made a career out of waterway rehabilitation. I am an advocate for waterways including the Screw and Little Screw Creek.
“By globe standards the observed condition of this tip is deemed universally untenable.
“This tip is a small tip. Like many things in this country town the scale, the complexity and the accessibility allow for a readily achievable solution.”
Council officers are recommending that councillors consider the closure for a number of reasons, including the significant investment required to bring the site up to best practice standards, and the additional operational budget required to maintain the site and services into the future.
Many members of the community have spoken up against the proposed closure of the transfer station due to a lack of community consultation, increased distances to drive from Inverloch to the Wonthaggi Transfer Station, and what some believe is a lack of environmental damage from the existing transfer station.
The site of the current transfer station and the older landfill that has since been capped runs adjacent to both Little Screw Creek and 34 hectares of nature reserve, a reserve that South Gippsland Conservation Society president Dave Sutton has been heavily involved in over the years.
Mr Sutton addressed the council at the Community Engagement Session and stated that he fully supports the proposal, saying it was imperative from an environmental perspective to shut it down as soon as possible.
“If you wanted to find the worst place to put a transfer station, you’ve found it,” Mr Sutton said.
“I know there’s been a lot of coverage of this, particularly opposing the closure, but the South Gippsland Conservation Society supports the proposal to close it and to cap it. It’s important that it is closed as quickly as possible.
“Closing this transfer station is the best option, from an environmental, efficiency and cost perspective.”
The council was due to make a decision regarding the future of the transfer station at the June Ordinary Meeting, but deferred the decision in the face of anger and upset from members of the community.
Two community engagement sessions were held on July 8 and 15 at the Inverloch Community Hub, where concerned citizens were able to ask questions and engage one on one with shire officers.
A decision is due to be made at tomorrow’s August 17 Ordinary Meeting at 5pm.