I submit the following details as my objection to A004690321 – BMI’s Watson Road Resource Recovery Facility on land at 146 Watson Rd, and 121 Gregory St, Acacia Ridge – Lot 2 on RP 188292 and Lot 4 on RP 217765.
My reasons are as follows:
- The complexity of this Development Application and its protracted evolution, including lack of community engagement have made it very difficult for the average resident to understand or participate in the process in a meaningful way. This is a disgrace given the location, nature and scale of what is being proposed. Even the proposed amendments, which purport to simplify the development, are in themselves confusing and raise more issues than they resolve.
- The fact that this drawn out DA process has been actioned and advertised for public notification during the period of 21 November to 13 December 2018 at a time when residents and students are preparing for end of school activities and the long summer holidays, speaks volumes of BMI’s intent and commitment to effectively engaging with their local community to address the serious issues raised.
- Despite its zoning and current usage, this land does not provide appropriate or suitable land use because of its location and proximity to the Watson Road State School and residential homes in Acacia Ridge. The operation should be relocated to a more suitable industrial land use area where road transport connections are readily available and suitable for use by heavy vehicles.
- The scale and intensity of the proposal is such that it will increase usage and activity at the site and hence access to it, without making appropriate provision for the impact on road usage, residents and the school community.
- Many of the residents of this area are Department of Housing Queensland tenants or property owners/renters who do not have the financial capacity to relocate away from the area. Therefore, they are suffering the long-term on-going impacts of BMI’s operation.
- BMI have been a source of constant complaints to the Moorooka Ward Office, Brisbane City Council and the Department of Environment and Science, in relation to the impacts of noise, odour, dust on local residents, visual pollution, heavy vehicle and site safety, personal health and sediment on local roads. These complaints have resulted in limited, if any, effective and enduring positive responses. BMI’s response has been tokenistic, too little too late. The response of the Department of Environment and Science has been sympathetic, but has failed to address the concerns raised.
- Meanwhile residents continue to suffer and complain about dust, noise, smell, traffic volume and movements, the increasing quantity of the resources being recovered or stored, and pollution encroaching or impacting on the near-by waterway, the Oxley Creek corridor and the Master Plan for the Oxley Creek Transformation.
- According to Council data, BMI has been the source of some 400 trucks a day travelling along Watson and Mortimer Rds, Acacia Ridge. This information was obtained following a petition lodged by residents. Truck volumes and the subsequent dust, noise and safety issues have been a constant source of complaints by residents who have lodged a number of petitions regarding this issue. Council’s response to this issue to date, has been very limited. Advice received from Council Officers is that BMI does not accept that this is their responsibility, because they state that truck drivers making site deliveries are employed as contractors, or for contractors, and therefore, not BMI’s responsibility.
- Ongoing heavy vehicle movement impacts have caused a disturbance of the amenity and safety of residents and students in the area as well as users of the site through their access and egress arrangements. There is also a community belief, which is well founded from the complaints made, that authorities have been reluctant to ensure road users consider the needs of residents and use alternative routes to access the site.
- This development application proposes that ‘lawful’ extractive operations will be on-going at the site until pre-extractive industry land levels have been re-established. This would suggest that operations would run indefinitely.
- There is no apparent timetable for this Development Application to be implemented – there is no certainty that BMI will ever action any or all of what it is proposing for the site. Given their delay in getting to this stage, and the uncertainty that exists around the proposed Oxley Creek Transformation Master Plan initiatives, many obstacles still exist for BMI to overcome. Meanwhile, residents and the school community will continue to be impacted by BMI’s action or inaction on this DA.
- Proposals detailed in this DA will certainly have the result of increasing usage of the site, thus furthering the impact on residents and the school community. It is highly inappropriate that this type of industrial/extractive/resource utilisation industry continues to operate in a suburban location next to residences and a local state school which caters to a diverse population of children, some of whom, have special learning needs.
- There is great potential for continued adverse health issues impacting on residents and students, and the community in general, especially given the proximity and direction of wind flow.
- The proposal to locate the site entrance closer to the school further up Watson Road, and provide a turning facility may suit BMI administrators, truck drivers and those accessing the site, but certainly does not address or resolve the issue of student and resident safety. This again points to the fact that the location and nature of the BMI operation at this site does not fit with the adjacent/nearby educational and residential land use. This is unacceptable.
- Storage and processing of hazardous goods and their impact on human health are issues of concern. Similarly, activities, such as the use of incinerators, crushing and screening of gravel, concrete crushing, timber shredding, construction recycling, mulching of logs and waste transfer are health issues. They are issues that have been constantly raised by residents. The responses provided by BMI, together with government responses, have done little to reduce public concern. Nor, do they engender confidence that these problems are being addressed, with an action plan to provide solutions.
- Management of fire on site, both industrial and bush fires, is of concern given the equipment being used and the nature of the resources stored and recycled; as well as the location of the site close by residences, school and adjacent bushland.
- Ensuring the site is able to withstand flooding of local waterways is another critical issue. It is understood that infill has already occurred to this waterway as part of the site development and operations.
After years of advocating for Acacia Ridge residents, the school and community, as well as for Watson and Mortimer Road users etc., there has been limited effective response by the Company to address the myriad of issues raised. Given the Company is now proposing to upgrade the site, I have come to the conclusion that not only do I object to this drawn-out DA proposal, but to the siting and operation of this facility at this location. Its impact upon the local community is so profound there is a need to close the facility and relocate it to a more appropriate industrial site with effective transport connection.
Councillor for Moorooka
3 December 2018