Landfill shift ‘inevitable’ but costs, timing are issues

By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

Costs and timing are the major issues for the relocation of the dump which several town councillors see as inevitable.

 

The issue was put on the Town Council’s agenda last week when it was raised by Councillor Steve Brown.

 

Left: View from the range, sewage ponds and landfill in the middle ground of this beautiful valley.

 

Today Cr Dave Douglas said the dump will need to be moved “eventually”: “We need to get people thinking about it. We have to find the land first.”

 

Cr Liz Martin says she will comment after considering some further points made public by Cr Brown today in the Alice Springs News Online readers’ comment section.

 

Cr Brendan Heenan says it is a long-term issue that is likely to play out over 20 to 30 years. He says the objective is to make do with the present site for as long as possible, by encouraging the public to recycle rubbish.

 

He says present plans allow for the continuing use of the current site for 15 to 18 years, without an extension west, further into the picturesque Ilparpa Valley and towards the rural residential development there. Proposals for the extension west were disclosed by the Alice Springs News Online in June and triggered the current debate.

 

Cr Heenan says the NT Government and the Power Water Corporation should also move the sewage plant – an issue long under discussion.

 

“All the land should be rehabilitated, but this does not seem to be on the government’s radar,” says Cr Heenan. Moving the dump while leaving in place the evaporation ponds makes no sense. Cr Heenan says there are estimates that the landfill relocation would cost $12m.

 

Also, the present site, if shut down, would need to be looked after for some 30 years because it may generate methane gas – but that will be a cost in any case, whether the dump stays or goes.

 

The transfer station currently under construction would remain, for the use of the public.

 

Cr Eli Melky says he has been calling for a relocation of the landfill for some years. In its present location it mars the southern entrance to the town, through which tourists arrive in Alice Springs.

 

Cr Melky says he regrets that all or some of the discussion will now need to be held in confidential session (from which the public is barred), because of the way Cr Brown introduced the topic last week. Mr Melky says the issues should be discussed in the council chamber and in open session. (The elected members can move matters in and out of “confidential”.)

 

Mayor Damien Ryan declined to comment.

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