'We've got an environmental obligation to close the site'
GYMPIE Regional Council voted to accept a petition against the closure of the Southside Waste Facility, which will be shut at the end of June to comply with environmental regulations.
Signed by 618 people, the petition called for the council to keep the facility open, saying it was used by residents across the shire, would result in more illegal dumping if closed and damage the environment.
"The reality is this will impact on the environment and wildlife as waste will be disposed of elsewhere throughout the shire instead of travelling to the other sites provided,” the petition said.
Petitioners believed keeping the site open would be cheaper in the long-term rather than "paying to clean up illegal dumping”, which it claimed had increased since charges for disposing of applicable items were introduced.
"As residents of this shire, we support council preserving the Southside Waste Management Facility as a cost in our rates, and we believe council would be better concentrating more on essential services for residents than on beautification projects for the shire,” the petition said.
While accepting the petition, Mayor Mick Curran said the facility's closure was necessary for the council to comply with the environmental protection act.
"We've got an environmental obligation to close the site to fully rehabilitate it under DHP,” Cr Curran said.
He added the closure would not place further stress on existing facilities.
"The closure will not be adding to the Bonnick Rd facility as all waste collected there was transferred to that site,” he said.
"Council actually expects, as highlighted by the petition, to rationalise costs and make some savings in our waste management facilities but this was not - and never was - a driver in the decision to close the facility.”