Council dithers on dump
WHEN Rockhampton Regional Council was formed, one of its priorities was to finally settle on a site to create a regional super dump.
Four years of controversy and at least $1 million later the region is no closer to knowing where its rubbish will go once the Lakes Creek Rd landfill puts up the closed full signs at the end of 2013.
And it appears that 2012 will come and go before the location is resolved. Bitter arguments, costly studies and legal challenges are likely to see plenty of twists and turns before the saga is concluded.
Terms of reference for an environmental impact statement on the council's latest preference - a huge extension of the Yeppoon tip - are still being drawn up.
Mayor Brad Carter said this week that it could take up to 18 months for that investigation, and if, as seems likely, there is an appeal in the courts, there is a distinct possibility that Lakes Creek Rd will be full long before its replacement is approved, let alone operational.
The debate is so bitter that it is expected to be an election issue, not just in the council elections in March, but in the state elections later in the year.
LNP candidate Bruce Young has pledged to block the Yeppoon extension if he beats sitting Labor MP Paul Hoolihan in Keppel.
Former Livingstone mayor Cr Bill Ludwig is vehemently opposed to the proposal and it was the controversy surrounding the announcement in April that proved the catalyst for the breakaway movement that has since seen 10,000 people sign a petition calling for de-amalgamation.
"It is a real travesty that this council has locked blindly into a blatantly unreasonable proposal," he said yesterday.
"It is a worry for everyone that we could run out of dump space before the matter is resolved. Rockhampton City Council dithered for 10 years and with four years to get its act together, the regional council has failed miserably to come with a sensible, workable plan."
Cr Ludwig says he believes the council should be working with the council in Gladstone on a regional landfill midway between the two centres.
"But instead there is an absolutely ridiculous proposal to site a super dump at the gateway to the region's premier tourist centre. It is socially and environmentally stupid."
After spending close to $1 million so far on progressing and then abandoning the Hedlow proposal, the council has committed to spend a further $500,000 on the EIS for Yeppoon.
Mayor Carter confirmed that the outcome would not be known for some time.
"The preferred site is Yeppoon, but we are still considering a possible option at Keppel Sands. Personally I don't believe that will be a viable option, but whatever happens now it will be a decision for the new council, not the existing one," he said.