Council agrees to take out the trash

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THE Alex Fraser Group’s bid to have their permit to operate at their Clarinda recycling facility extended until 2038 has been rejected.

Kingston Council agreed earlier this week to reject the proposal after 800 community objections to the plan were lodged. The Alex Fraser Group’s current permit lasts until 2023.

Kingston mayor Georgina Oxley said “people in Kingston’s northern suburbs had put up with the waste industry located on their doorstep in the Kingston Green Wedge for far too long.”

“Locals have been waiting for decades to see the end of the waste industry in their neighbourhoods and it’s not fair to ask them to put up with it for another 15 years,” she said.

“In approving Planning Scheme Amendment C143 in 2015 the Victorian planning minister explicitly recognised that waste transfer and recycling facilities are not suitable for Green Wedge areas, and outlawed any new operators while allowing existing operators until the end of their permit to move on.

“Council recognises that Alex Fraser can play a strong role in Victoria’s recycling crisis, but Kingston’s Green Wedge is simply the wrong place for an industrial waste facility as the area transitions to our long-held vision for a Chain of Parks.”

A 15 year permit was granted to the Alex Fraser Group in 2008, with an exit date of 2023 targeted. The Alex Fraser Group made a push for a 15 year licence extension in late 2014, but they faced unanimous opposition from the previous Kingston Council.

The Alex Fraser Group sent a letter out to Clarinda residents earlier this month pitching their case for a longer stay. They threatened that “Victoria’s recycling crisis would worsen” if their site shut down (“Recycler pitches longer stay”, The News, 13/11/19).

Kingston Council was embroiled in the recycling crisis this year, and was forced to send tonnes of recycling to landfill after SKM shut their doors.

The letter also read that if the site shut down by 2023, the land would be unavailable for public use. The letter detailed the recycler’s plan for the land if an extension of their permit is issued.

“To provide certainty about the site’s long term use, Alex Fraser has committed to give the Kingston community ownership of the 22 hectares of land in 2033. We’d love to see this land redeveloped to serve the community as a public park and recreation space,” the letter read. 

“To help fund this kind of community development, Alex Fraser would lease the land from the community until the planning permit expires in 2038, providing Kingston City Council with $1 million in rent every year for five years.”

Cr Oxley said that “the company has known for four years they would need to find a new location, and the Victorian government has been working with them to find alternatives. They still have another four years to find a suitable site that will ensure both the company’s long-term success and an end to waste related activities in the Green Wedge.”

First published in the Chelsea Mordialloc Mentone News – 27 November 2019

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