Bringing resource recovery and recycling to the fore and seeking to correct some misinformation circulating in the community about the proposed recycling park at Ebenezer, Wanless CEO Dean Wanless was recently featured in an article in the The Queensland Times.
The official public notification period for this development closed on Friday 5 June 2020, but Wanless welcomes feedback from the community at any time. The article dispelled some myths regarding the new recycling park, and confirmed Wanless’s commitment to investing in resource recovery and recycling.
“Some people in the Ipswich region have referred to Wanless’ proposed facility at Ebenezer as a ‘dump.’ This ignores the fact that the bulk of the investment and employment at the site is in resource recovery and recycling. We have committed to a 45 per cent recycling rate across the site, and we will target waste materials currently sent directly to landfill, recovering resources that are currently buried,” Dean Wanless says. “We see this as just the beginning, and we know, based on a business model tried and tested in other parts of the country, that over time we can build up to diverting up to 80% of waste at full operations. To make this possible at Ebenezer, we will bring in world’s best technology and best practice in recovery and recycling, so that we can reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.”
Working with the community
In 2019, before Wanless lodged its development application with the Ipswich City Council and before it was required to publicly talk about its plans for the Wanless Recycling Park, the company was already sharing information with the community. “We made our plans available and openly invited the community to connect with us if they had any questions or concerns. We spent time listening to local people at community information sessions and resident group meetings and over the phone and email before submitting our development application. Based on the community and Council feedback, we have made changes to the design of the site, site access and the proportions and types of material we’ll accept. “Unfortunately, with COVID-19 restrictions, Wanless couldn’t hold information sessions in the community during the current public notification period, but again we have openly asked the community for feedback. “We’re a family-owned business from this region, and we’ve put to our name to this facility because we believe it is the way forward in waste management. “We know how important it is to keep the locals up to date and we’re working to minimise the impacts on residents and neighbouring businesses.
Job opportunities for local people
“Our vision is to transform this degraded site at Ebenezer into a productive precinct that generates employment and training opportunities for local people. We want to maximise the local economic benefits so that this recycling park has a flow-on effect for local businesses and becomes an innovative resource recovery hub that will continue to evolve as new technologies emerge,” says Dean Wanless.
“Resource recovery and recycling require more investment and employ more people than landfill. They involve physical processes like sorting and the operation of machinery to separate, screen and classify waste, for example. New technologies and practices also create the need for additional training. This industry is evolving fast, and we want to make sure the Ipswich region has an opportunity to lead the way.”
Using old mining voids
“We know the Ebenezer site has been disturbed by historical coal mining activities and includes three retained voids. Wanless has accelerated the remediation works for the old mine site. We have also undertaken what has been described by experts as the most detailed and extensive investigation for a project of this type in Australia’s history.
“As part of the existing Environmental Authority across the site for the mining operation, there are limited rehabilitation requirements. As part of our development application, we propose to refill and rehabilitate the mining voids. “The team have also identified koalas on site, and we’ve made sure our proposed design avoids disturbance to their habitat,” Mr Wanless said.
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