Council keen for concrete fight

BAYSWATER council’s four-year battle to stop a concrete batching plant is set to hit the supreme court.

The council rejected WA Limestone’s first application to build the plant on Collier Road in 2011, citing concerns over dust pollution and proximity to houses and Joan Rycroft Reserve.

Since then the application has been back and forth between the powerful state administrative tribunal and the city. WA Limestone’s latest modified application was rejected Tuesday night in front of a packed, rowdy chamber.

• Residents gather outside the Bayswater council chamber following the council’s latest rejection of a concrete batching plant application. Photo by Stephen Pollock

• Residents gather outside the Bayswater council chamber following the council’s latest rejection of a concrete batching plant application. Photo by Stephen Pollock

“We are now faced with choosing between two versions of a plant we don’t want,” boomed Cr Barry McKenna.

“It’s like being asked to chose between the electric chair or hanging.

“The bottom line is we don’t wan’t this plant and need to take out an injunction and go to the supreme court.”

Less desirable

Mayor Sylvan Albert warned that by rejecting Limestone’s latest revised application, the council could end up with its previous proposal, which many councillors believed was less desirable.

“SAT have ruled that the plant can go there, so we only have a choice over what type of plant we get,” he told councillors.

“We have a duty of care and need to divorce ourself from emotion and deal with this as a planning matter, or we could end up with the default worst-case scenario.”

Despite his plea, the council voted to reject the revised application, which essentially limited the consistent use of front-loaders and reduced dust and noise emissions.

“We have to take this as far as we can, or we are not doing our job,” Cr Martin Toldo said.

“Money doesn’t matter; this is a health issue.

“We need to go to the supreme court.”

Deputy mayor Mike Sabatino walked out of the meeting prior to the debate, saying the alternative motion to reject the plant had been tabled too late for him to assess it properly.

Ratepayer Barry Kramer, who was in the crowd and spoke against the plant at question time, criticised Cr Sabatino’s decision to leave.

“Because of his actions one would only assume he is in favour of the concrete batching plant being built and operated on our front doorstep, regardless of the health risks to ratepayers,” he said.

The matter will now go back before the SAT on November 26.

The SAT—an unelected body of officials with the power to override the decisions of locally elected councils—had warned that if the council rejected the latest modified application, it could face paying the bulk of legal costs as well has having no control over the type of plant it will get.

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

Amrik Pala 10x2

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