Concrete fight gets heavy

BAYSWATER deputy mayor Barry McKenna has hinted his council is prepared to go to the supreme court to stop a concrete batching plant being built in the city (Voice, April 20, 2013).

The unelected but powerful state administrative tribunal is on the verge of approving a concrete batching plant, over the objections of the elected council and hundreds of local residents.

In June 2011 the council rejected the proposal for Collier Road after receiving 400 protest letters, concerned about noise, truck traffic and pollution.

Ransberg wants three 19m silos and 16 storage bins on a site that is close to homes and Joan Rycroft Reserve, on the fringe of the city’s light industrial zone.

SAT has ordered the council to submit a list of draft planning guidelines for the plant to operate under, in the event approval is granted.

Cr McKenna delivered a passionate address this week to a council chamber packed with concerned residents.

“People in central ward must be losing sleep over this one,” he said.

“This is a black and white issue, you can’t compromise on a batching plant being built with some planning conditions.

“We have spent an enormous amount of money on this and councillors should know we still have the option of appealing any SAT decision with the supreme court.”

The council has spent $100,000 on legal fees, fighting the applicants’ appeal to the SAT.

Council staff say another $40,000 could be spent on legal and consultancy fees if the council continues with its defence.

Cr Chis Cornish argues the SAT appeals process is flawed.

“It’s a scandal that we, an elected body that represents ratepayers, have to pay $100,000 to argue our case with the SAT, an unelected body that has the power to overturn our decision,” he says.

“Whomever instigated SAT has a lot to answer for.”

Maylands Labor MP Lisa Baker says lessons should be learnt from other WA councils.

“I am in complete agreement with council’s position to oppose this plant,” she told the Voice.

“The health, lifestyle, amenity and economic problems faced by Cockburn residents living near to similar plants have been well documented.

“This is not an appropriate development for Bayswater.”

In November 2011 the SAT indicated the plant could be approved if technical information regarding “wet batch” concrete production and air quality was provided.

Council voted to request to SAT the plant application be refused.

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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