Waste company Wanless is weighing up whether to proceed with its resource recovery facility after Ipswich City Council rejected the landfill side of its Ebenezer proposal last week.
Wanless CEO Dean Wanless said the company was reconsidering its options for the disused mine site.
“It’s too soon to say whether Wanless will continue with the project,” Mr Wanless said. “We need time to review the Council’s decision and consider our options. From our initial consideration of the financials, proceeding with half the project doesn’t stack up.”
The $50 million development was expected to create 300 jobs during construction and employ about 50 staff.
Dean Wanless said while Wanless acknowledged some parts of the community opposed the landfill component of the proposal, the decision was disappointing and short-sighted.
“The people of Ipswich deserve to know that our proposed development is world-class and akin to those adopted in other jurisdictions around the globe moving towards a circular economy,” he said.
“Our project has the potential to deliver many benefits to the local community, including hundreds of jobs in the coming years and significant (more than required) environmental offsets and remediation.
“Wanless designed the project to integrate innovative resource recovery and recycling with the disposal of residual materials onsite. This provides an opportunity to remediate historical mining activities, which have devastated the site and left it unfit for other uses.
“We understand developments that include environmental works often concern the community, but this proposal has received approval from the State Government, which took more than two years and included many detailed investigations and reports.”
Interestingly, the decision was made on the eve of the Ipswich, Logan and Redland-council alliance’s funds bid to develop a recycling and waste recovery facility.
The three councils formed the SEQ Sub-Regional Waste Alliance in 2019 and in June agreed to develop a business case for a new Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in the region.
Last week, the councils lodged a joint funding application for a regional MRF through the Queensland Recycling Modernisation Fund, which has up to $40 million to invest in recycling solutions across the state.
A site for the new facility is yet to be determined.
Ipswich disposed of 107,703 tonnes of waste and recyclable material during the 2019-2020 financial year, of which the city was able to capture and recycle only 23 per cent. The City Council’s draft Resource Recovery Strategy increases the citywide target to recycle 50 per cent of the city’s waste stream by 2025 and 70 per cent by 2050.
Dean Wanless said Mayor Harding did not “seem to consider the $200 million investment in recycling and recovering infrastructure, not to mention the hundreds of jobs created by this proposal”.
“By Council’s admission, they acknowledge that they have let the community down when it comes to waste management compliance,” says Dean Wanless. “Our proposal was an opportunity to lift standards in the region, and they have chosen to reject it.”