Ballarat could soon be Victoria’s destination for rubbish, with the $5 million first stage of a recycling and green waste sorting facility pushing ahead.
After missing out on another federal funding round, City of Ballarat officers have recommended council go it alone on the first stage of the All Waste Interchange, including the construction of a Ballarat West Employment Zone transfer station.
It follows Friday’s $300 million BWEZ waste to energy plant agreement, struck between council and engineering company Malaysian Resources Corporation Berhad.
City of Ballarat’s director of infrastructure and environment said “rather than sitting on our hands”, infrastructure should be created for the interchange.
“Having the opportunity to sort and be more independent of the major players like Visy and SKM in the recycling space, a facility of this nature would give us this potential,” he said.
“$18 million a year of our budget is spent in relation to waste management … a central receival point would achieve the benefit of not dragging a compactor to Smythesdale and back.”
The All Waste Interchange would become the collection point for all waste and recycling, and could include a material recovery facility to take recyclables out of household rubbish.
Councillors will consider the proposal at an ordinary meeting on August 22.
It comes as waste to energy expert Barry Sullivan cast concerns over the suitability of the proposed $300 million Ballarat development. He was named a 2018 recipient of the Sullivan is one of the United Nations Corporate Social Responsibility groups’ 50 Most Impactful Green Leaders.
Mr Sullivan said the proposed plant was “disappointing” as not all waste to energy technologies are equal, and Ballarat would be better considering a smaller plant able to solely take city’s waste as it grows.
“The economic modelling for this area shows the right thing would have been a waste to energy facility processing around 100,000 tonnes a year,” he said.
“The newer tech actually can do many things, including produce transport fuels like jet fuel.
“At this stage I have more questions than answers.”
If green-lit after the 120 days of due diligence, construction on the waste to energy plant which would incinerates household refuse could begin in August next year, with the facility operational by 2022.
City of Ballarat applied for a matched $5 million to build the interchange through the federal Building Better Regions Fund. Mr Demeo confirmed council will still lobby the state government and opposition to fund the project in full in the lead up to the November 24 election.
$5 million for stage one of the All Waste Interchange was allocated in the 2018/2019 council budget.
Mr Demeo said if a transfer station was constructed at BWEZ, council would would potentially divest the land at the current Gillies Street.
“The location of this facility, which is relatively central to our urban mass, is the right spot,” he said.
“In best case scenario we’re three-plus years away from a waste to energy facility … in the short term if we’re still relying on landfill, a central receival point for our compactor fleet is also significant and advantageous.”
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