With no solution yet to the vexed question of what will happen with red bin waste gathered under the Coffs Coast Waste Collection contract and processed by Biomass, both Bellingen and Nambucca Shires are considering their options.
By Ute Schulenberg – The Bellingen Courier-Sun
In Bellingen’s case, one option is whether their southern neighbour could help out in a worst case scenario, to which Nambucca has responded “not at this point in time”.
Bellingen Shire’s General Manager Liz Jeremy said other options being explored by the council included:
- Sending detailed submissions to government regarding the repercussions of the EPA decision on the councils and their communities.
- Participating with a large number of councils on the north coast and the Department of Regional NSW, in the north coast investment report process which aims to identify alternate options for the disposal and processing of waste.
- Undertaking a review of the shire’s waste services, including a strategic look at landfill capacity and alternate options.
Back in the Macksville council chambers, Nambucca Valley councillor John Ainsworth said he had a real concern about taking landfill from other councils at the moment.
“Legislation can change and we don’t want to find ourselves in a bind,” Cr Ainsworth said.
Cr Rhonda Hoban said any decisions needed to wait until the situation with the current contract was clear.
Cr Ainsworth asked the general manager, Michael Coulter, if there was any news about the arbitration* between Coffs Harbour City Council and Biomass.
*When EPA regulations changed, Biomass lodged a $32 million claim against CHCC for additional costs and loss of revenue.
Mr Coulter said the legal response to the matter was imminent.
Yesterday, he told the Courier-Sun the determination had been made and that CHCC was working through the implications for itself, as well as Nambucca and Bellingen Councils. (CCO emphasis added)
“There has always been an inherent governance problem in the tripartite agreement,” Mr Coulter said.
“Under the contract Coffs undertook to make the Englands Rd landfill available for the life of the contract (to 2027) – and we paid fees accordingly. With the EPA changes, they now say that Englands Rd has no more capacity.
“The question put very simply is whether we are partners with Coffs or customers … we see ourselves as customers.”
He said the council would be seeking its own legal advice depending on the impact of the arbitration on Nambucca and Bellingen.
Currently the interim measure of transporting the waste to Tamworth, is being paid for by Biomass and CHCC.
The above was first published at The Bellingen-Courier-Sun – Monday 17 August 2020. See; https://www.bellingencourier.com.au/story/6882082/not-now-neighbour-nambucca-says-no-to-bellingens-request/