Waste Transfer Station site in Alstonville. Picture: Google Maps
Waste Transfer Station site in Alstonville. Picture: Google Maps

Northern Rivers waste transfer station expansion approved

BALLINA Shire Council has approved the expansion of a waste transfer station in Alstonville despite community concerns about the development.

The site in the industrial estate was previously used as a concrete batching plant.

In 2017, a waste transfer centre was approved and owners, who have been processing a maximum of 5000 tonnes of waste per year, can now process up to 28,000 tonnes of material per year.

The expansion allows for sorting of construction and demolition waste, general mixed waste, recycling, paper and cardboard, green waste, steel and timber.

It brought on much debate at council, with concerns raised about odour and dust particles at Thursday’s meeting.

“Can we get the air quality checked, so we don’t go down the path of the Boral Asphalt Plant?” Cr Sharon Cadwallader said.

It was agreed the development is allowable within the zone, which raised questions for businesses that depend on good air quality.

“We need to create a special zone for food-based businesses who are concerned about these issues,” Cr Sharon Parry said.

Mayor David Wright warned councillors about the consequences of knocking back an allowable development.

“Just look at the results of the court cases going. There are a lot of things that are costing us that could have been sorted out before it goes to court,” he said.

The DA was approved subject to a number of conditions outlined earlier by council and the EPA, with extra requirements for dust suppression and ongoing dust monitoring at the site.

Strategic planning manager Matthew Wood responded to concerns about odour.

He said no crushing would take place on site — materials will be compacted and loaded into sealed containers immediately.

The transfer station is proposed to operate 6am to 6pm Monday to Friday, and 7am to 4pm Saturdays and Sundays.

Waste transfer (haulage) operations would occur 24 hours a day, Monday to Sunday within land already classified as industrial.

Up to 45 semi-trailers and heavy rigid trucks will move to and from the site after hours, from 6pm to 6am each week.

It is anticipated that this will equate to two movements per hour on average.

In the vote, the only councillor to oppose granting consent was Cr Stephen McCarthy.