Home Community Potential risk to community – Council still in the dark

Potential risk to community – Council still in the dark

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By Kate Taylor

Bacchus Marsh will receive a truck load of contaminated soil every six minutes, 24-hours a day, seven days a week if Maddingley Brown Coal’s tender for the contract is successful.
The confirmation comes as Moorabool Shire Council released the answers to 24 questions it put to Transurban and project partners about the proposal to store, categorise and dispose of contaminated soil at the Bacchus Marsh site.
Transurban is, along with its partners, building the $6.7 billion West Gate Tunnel Project and last year called for tenders to manage 1.5 million cubic tonnes of soil from the project.
The soil is known to be contaminated with PFAS but has never been publicly classified.
Maddingley Brown Coal put in a tender bid to use its site for the contaminated soil and that bid was shortlisted.
Moorabool Mayor David Edwards revealed the confirmation last week that under the shortlisted proposal, trucks carrying soil will travel to the site every six minutes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Contaminated soil will be stored, categorised and disposed of at the site, in proximity to local schools and market gardens.
He said the 24 questions asked by Council were based around five key themes: Community Consultation; Soil Contamination; Net Community Benefit; Road Infrastructure; and the Environment.
“In line with our commitment to openness and transparency, Council is making the answers to these questions available for all to see at www.moorabool.vic.gov.au,” Cr Edwards said.
“This follows Council’s earlier decision to make available all the letters it has sent to State Government Ministers on this matter.”
In the responses, a request to provide Council with the nine technical assessments on environmental, socio-economic, amenity and traffic impacts was again turned down.
“Due to the competitive process currently underway, we are not able to provide commercially sensitive material contained in the technical assessments,” Transurban and its partners stated.
But Cr Edwards said it was bizarre that Council, as the local planning authority, was being denied access to the documentation.
“Council has made it very clear that we are not interested in seeing any commercially sensitive material. We have even gone as far as offering to view redacted versions of these technical assessments where all commercially sensitive material has been blackened out,” he said.
“The fact remains that without these technical assessments, Council remains largely in the dark about the potential risks for the community, as well as the actual impacts to our roads, our environment and our reputation as a major food provider for Melbourne.”
The answers from Transurban and its partners can be found at www.moorabool.vic.gov.au