A PROPOSED Gunnedah Waste Facility that is currently before the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has received opposition from residents and community groups.
If it gains approval, the facility would store and process up to 250,000 tonnes of waste a year, including excavated natural material, commercial and industrial waste and contaminated soils.
The proposal has received a strong community response, with 95 written submissions made, including 86 from the public which were all in opposition of the development application.
The overwhelming majority of submissions raise concerns regarding the extent of community consultation undertaken during the preparation of the project's Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
The applicant, MacKellar Group - a privately owned earth-moving, plant hire, quarrying and waste company - now has two months to respond to submissions before the department can finalise its assessment.
Areas they must address include additional community consultation, water management, air quality, noise, impact of hazardous waste, traffic and transport, fire safety and soil and water.
If MacKellar Group's application is approved, the facility would be built on 2.7 hectares on Lots 1 and 2/16 Torrens Road, in Gunnedah's industrial estate.
Paul and Deeanne Rankin own and live at neighbouring property "Portland" on the Kamilaroi Highway, only 500 metres from the proposed development.
Despite the EIS stating the site is not prone to flooding, one of the Rankins many concerns is water inundation.
Water is known to wash from the proposed site to neighbouring properties during rain events, their submission said.
That water has the potential to "make its way across the property and into our back paddock, finding its way to the Stock Route, under the Kamilaroi Highway, through neighbouring properties and the natural water course and to the Naomi River system," it read.
Mark Baker, a local businessman and veterinary surgeon, has operated within the vicinity of the proposed development for almost 40 years, and said he has major concerns.
"The proposed facility is too close to town, residences and other businesses," Mr Baker wrote in his submission.
"Gunnedah is growing and this proposed development will be uncomfortably close to town in years to come."
The proposed site's close proximity to the Gunnedah CBD, adjacent properties and agricultural land, including Gunnedah High School's ag-plot on Torrens Road was cited in almost every submission.
Advocacy groups such as the North West Protection Advocacy and Armidale Action on Coal Seam Gas & Mining are also concerned the facility will be used to dispose of Santos mining waste, despite there being no reference to the company in the EIS and no indication from Santos.
While Gunnedah Shire Council's submission did not oppose the proposal, the council is seeking further information on several matters of concern including noise impacts, dust odour and air quality management, storm-water management and the type of waste that will be accepted at the facility.
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