A SUPER dump could be in Gympie's future after council voted unanimously to close the Southside waste transfer facility in yesterday's town meeting.

The facility, which will cease operation early in the next financial year, is being closed due to the environmental requirements for capping the landfill site.

Residents will be forced to use the Bonnick Rd facility, but with a reported lifespan of about five years remaining on the facility, questions were raised about what the future plans for waste disposal in the region are.

Cr Hilary Smerdon, in charge of water and sewerage and waste management, said a super dump was a possibility, but cost and location would be the two biggest challenges.

"The cost involved, as stated in the meeting, we'd be looking at probably $20million," he said.

It was not the only option on the table, with the possibility of another landfill being opened or transferring Gympie's waste to somewhere else.

Given the time limit on the Bonnick Rd site, Cr Smerdon said it was imperative council started exploring all options now.

 

"We've got to really start looking at what we're going to do in the future."

 

During the discussion, he acknowledged the decision to close the dump would be unpopular, and the public was not alone in feeling that way.

"I'm not too happy about (it)," he said, although he acknowledged it was necessary and he was going to wait to see how the public dealt with the closure.

 

"If it does save some money, and there's not too much travel, I suppose people will get used to it."

 

Given his position as head of the portfolio, though, he acknowledged he was likely to field quite a few complaints from the public when casting his vote.

According to Mayor Mick Curran, the final design of the landfill made the continued operation of the waste facility "physically impossible".

Hilary Smerdon
Hilary Smerdon Renee Albrecht

He added councils were under increasing pressure from the environment department to ensure they comply with all safety guidelines on their facilities, and a meeting scheduled with the Director General as well as mayors from North and South Burnett, Fraser Coast and Bundaberg meeting after council was done to discuss the issue.

About 4000 homes are within the catchment area for the facility, but council expects a minimal increase in travel for residents who will have to travel to Bonnick Rd instead.

According to council, the Southside site attracts an average of 60 users per day, a figure which Bonnick Rd sees every hour and will ultimately place no extra pressure on the site.

The Widgee waste management facility will also remain an option for affected residents.

Gympie Times


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