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Council's Dec 08 verdict on Woolworths revised proposals

Council's Dec 08 verdict on Woolworths revised proposals

Woolworths site seriously flooded May 1987. We could be due for such a flood anytime now. How could an on-site effluent system ever work after this????

Woolworth's "proposed sewage management arrangements are UNACCEPTABLE” says Byron Shire Council in a submission to Dept Planning re: Woolworths latest attempt to abuse the Consent Conditions of their DA for the site in Station Street, Mullumbimby.

Yet again, Woolworths are trying to get away with a new plan for inadequate on-site sewage disposal on a water-logged site just 500 metres from our tidal Brunswick River.


Byron Shire Council (BSC) have had their powers to reject this proposal superseded by the Minister of Planning (thanks to ex-Minister Sartor’s approval of the original Mallam’s DA).   In their December, 2008 submission to the Department of Planning (DoP), Council states that “…if they were the consent authority for the application, consent would not be forthcoming.”

In a Critical Review of the Revised On-site Wastewater Management Scheme by Whitehead & Associates, Environmental Consultants employed by the DoP, concern is raised about the viability of the on-site system, about which they say: We stress the design stretches the land capability of this constrained site to its limits.

With a buffer zone of half a metre (one small step) between the irrigation areas and the site boundary, the consultants comment on the possible detrimental effect of cleaning and sanitation agents on the proposed system and on soil microbes in the effluent irrigation areas. In other words, Woolworths cleaning products could kill the bacteria required for the on-site to function, spill over the boundary into the water table and the river, just a stone’s throw away.

waterlogged soil at mullumbimby woolworths site in July 2008 the dry seasonFurthermore, Woolworths propose relying on pumping out and removal of effluent to Tweed area for disposal during times of heavy rain which they suggest only happens 3 times a year! Such pumping out is illegal in Byron Shire and would set a new precedent for other developers to wriggle round the law.

Woolworths on-site proposal will require an intensive and comprehensive level of management which equals its potential for failure, pointed out BSC in their submission. Their summary reads: the proposed sewage management arrangements are unacceptable. They rely upon untested outcomes with a high propensity for failure and on continuous micro management. System failure has the clear potential to create public health risk. It would seem inevitable that the pump-out element will be substantive and may well become dominant or exclusive. A full assessment of the merits of the pump-out element is essential.  

The Queensland Government has just announced it will be making climate change the top priority in proposed changes to its State Development Guidelines. It says South East Queensland is especially vulnerable to sea level rise and since we are just over the border, that vulnerability would also include the North Coast of New South Wales.   As the proposed Woolworths site is frequently waterlogged and the groundwater level affected by tidal activity, MCAN believes the site is unsuitable for on-site effluent disposal.

What has the New South Wales Government done to mitigate concern about climate change, especially coastal flooding?

For more information visit;

 Draft SEQ Regional Plan at:
http://www.dip.qld.gov.au/regional-planning/draft-regional-plan-2009-2031.html



 

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