Coffs Harbour City Council independent experts identify landfill as likely source of main odour

Statement from NSW Environment Protection Authority:

The EPA is reviewing final odour reports from both Coffs Harbour City Council and Biomass as part of our investigation into the odour issue in the vicinity of Englands Road, North Boambee Valley.

Council recently advised the EPA that its independent industry expert had identified the landfill as the likely source of the main odour.

To help mitigate the issue, Council has since reduced the size of the active area of their landfill and added additional capping to help seal in any odours.

The EPA is preparing further regulatory action to require Council to take additional steps to reduce the odour.  

The EPA’s daily surveys are showing a general reduction in offensive odours in the area, but we note there are still times when the odour is significant.

The above is from Moffee at TripleM Coffs Coast – a full two minute audio report can also be heard here;


CCO Editor – OK, OK I know – cue the ‘no shit Sherlock!’ comments below…………..

14 thoughts on “Coffs Harbour City Council independent experts identify landfill as likely source of main odour

  1. I wonder if all the people that jumped out of the tree to blame Biomass are now going to publicly apologise? Moffy regularly criticised the company (I’m sure with some help from ‘his friends’ at CHCC) and now has ‘egg on his face’.

    Everyone who has ever smelt a landfill knew who the guilty party was yet Council/EPA and the Media decided to throw a private business ‘under the bus’.

    Makes you wonder why this Council is in dispute with just about everyone it does business with.

  2. Hopefully our friend Mr Baston who gave such an impassioned speech at Council and on multiple media sites enjoys the fact his accusations were proven incorrect with Council admitting they are the guilty party not his ‘lifelong nemesis’ Biomass.

    His, and various others defamatory statements, may well come back to haunt them.

  3. An operation integral to the running of a city. Not something that can be put to the side. An operation that accrues. A problem or dispute between two contract parties, both of whom have a telephone. The EPA wants, bottom line, a result (as different from a conviction).

    I just don’t get how Council has ended up with $1 Million Plus in legal fees. For zero result. And a vastly worsened problem, worsening under their noses while it’s sitting at the desk writing cheques to its lawyers. And a good guess is that the final move-on resolution is the same one that could have happened back at the start of the dispute if they sat down together to sort it out between themselves, bringing EPA to the table if needed.

    What are these big salaries for? And what is the mayor or governing body going to do about it?

  4. P.S. It’s dangerously bizarre things like this that give added big cause for concern for the ‘quality’ advice sought from consultants, the briefs given them, the 80% and rushed contract with the builder, and, hells bells, a 99 year lease negotiation. Can anyone show evidence to have confidence in this management? Seriously, where and what is that evidence?

    Over to you, councillors. Time to fully wake up, please.

  5. Could the independent industry expert now use their extraordinary sense of smell to sniff out what’s rotten at council HQ?

  6. The foul odour of our dump assails every driver and passengers that pass through the southern roundabout. Yet it took intervention by the EPA to extract an admission by Council that it was to blame! Our Public Servant Executives are too hell-bent on creating their salubrious castle in Gordon Street to bother with such mundane matters! I sympathise with the faithful staff members who serve diligently, then must act as a shield for this neglect of duty.
    For the first time in our Council’s history, the citizens have conducted a sustained, two year campaign for answers, without receiving clear accountable responses. The garbage stench that costs us $10,000 per day, with no solution in sight, is but one of many problems now being identified. It is but the tip of the iceberg, as investigations now reveal.
    By design, Council is comprised of nine Councillors for the purpose of government by a majority vote. It was a grave error that an election was not conducted to fill the vacancy that occurred in 2019. Rumours abound as to the politics associated with the decision to avoid this election.
    With a hung Council at 4/4 and reckless application of the casting vote, our eight Councillors became totally ineffective. Our Minister for Local Government played ‘Pontius Pilot’ and washed her hands of all responsibility, suggesting that we had the power to rectify our situation at the ballot box.
    On September 4 we will have that election that should have occurred in 2020. It behoves every citizen to consider carefully the power they hold in their right to vote and to choose wisely when exercising this privilege. The future of our city rests in your hands.

  7. Al Capone got nailed on tax. He also contracted syphilis and gonorrhea, but that’s not relevant, probably.

    The point is that this CHCC Management has engaged in some big deals. A lot of us don’t think any of them are good.

    Ask: Who is the only party guaranteed to benefit from these? If they go wrong, the community loses. The only party who’s guaranteed a win are members of CHCC Management. They can’t lose.

    Firstly, the so-called CCS. It blows out to $105 million, without correction, worse case scenario. McGrath and Raby, let’s say as an example, are even booted out for it. So what? Community has the problem, these two meld into the local government teat-sucking enclave of ready-made employment. They can blame the blow-out on something or someone else. This is how they operate in meetings, from what I’ve seen. Watch ’em at it.

    Recently, as one example, the T2S was raised here on CCO. Steve McGrath was asked about it in meetings by Paul Amos. McGrath’s go-to response when it’s time to run and hide? “It’s the Councillors’-of-the-day decision about what goes into it, and what it’s used for.” And this one: “Councillors were advised of this some time ago.” Have a look at how that ‘advice’ (which often is just passing on from consultants) is framed for Councillors, folks. More, maybe, on this in another comment. New candidates, beware.

    Have a look at the big issues getting a media run. All the big, shiny news. The showpony news. There’s Steve McGrath’s name, all over it. Have a look at when it goes wrong. There’s the “council spokesperson”. Where’s the name Steve McGrath in that? Has he run to the shadows, hiding behind the door? Are we allowed to ask these questions? Damn right.

    Don’t worry. If the CCS comes a cropper, and isn’t checked, you’ll be able to find former CHCC Managment huddled in amongst the teat-sucklers, who’ve had problems themselves, bottle of red in hand,. McGrath, Raby and Beswick and Co will get only pats on the back, laughs, and help as to what “community” to go to next? Or, naturally, straight into consultancy until then?

    And, in that enclave, guaranteed, no mention of community pain or division. (Otherwise, obviously, you’d hear about it locally by Management themselves. Heard a word?)

    The airport is the golden goose. The Holy Grail. Big, big ninety-nine year lease on the CV. When will the Coffs community see its problems? Three; five years? Ten? Thirty? What will those problems be attributed to, when they lurch out of the shadows of that contract? McGrath? Raby? Nope. Fingers will be pointed to the direct actors of the day.

    By then Management is away in the sunshine somewhere basking in their hugely bumped up and enviable CVs, all obtained at what looks like it could be very, very considerable cost to the CH LGA, and all obtained without any prior experience whatsoever, as far and wide as the eye can tell.

    Bang. Big bulging shiny CVs. All done with CH LGA as the practice ground. All done without a serious question as to their competency and experience before doing them. All done with laughs and giggles from a mayor who has left vacant the role of overseeing a GM — in not just one opinion.

    You stand to lose, they don’t. They win.

    But all of this leads to a purposeful point: This Waste issue could bring their day of reckoning.

    It’s current. It’s about ‘hands-on management’. It’s not about the so-called CCS or airport, for which the community has made up its mind and is sick of it. There are no consultants. On the problem of Waste, the whole LGA can support any current Councillor who stands for community, and holds management accountable. That is also, let’s remember, a Councillor’s job.

    Then the whole community will know, also, clear in the spotlight, which Councillor doesn’t.

    This is election time. Doesn’t each current Councillor know it. Have a look at the ones aching to get e-elected, have a listen to the changes in attitude, the being so-ever-nice. Alright, that last one is Michael. (We’re allowed to have a laugh.) Maybe even he will get his name in the headlines before September.

    So it’s on. Have a look, too, at the opportunity for new candidates. Waste is an issue that can show a candidate’s true community colours, true strength for when they get elected. This is the issue that could set about putting CHCC Management in its place, because for anyone who’s noticed, it’s been for them a free and easy ride so far.

    Let’s face it. If you want to get elected as a Councillor, you’d want to be able to enjoy it. That means having to deal with a CHCC Management that respects you, honours your position, doesn’t regard you as a rubber stamp, or worse. You don’t want to get in there to feel like you have to apologise for it. (That’s getting very tiring.)

    CLB is right when he/she says that mayoral candidates have to state their positions on the CCS. Without doing so, it shows they’re not in touch. Without doing so, it shows they’re just on their own trip, with their own agenda to impose on the public. I’ll add that all candidates have strong public leverage with the Waste problem.

    For all Councillors, current or contending, the Waste issue is yours for the taking. One million dollars, and more, and counting, is a lot of money. A lot of public money. Money from you paid by CHCC Management to lawyers. For what?

    If CHCC Management isn’t dragged over the coals on this Waste issue, and interrogated until the bottom of it is red and raw and obvious to all, there’s no point in having Councillors, is there? Current or hopeful. How long has this issue been going on? Since the arrival of Steve McGrath? Look at it now.

    Let’s really, really look at it now.

    And let’s hear what CHCC Management has to say for itself, red and raw and exposed. It’s been making big decisions. Giving big advice. Telling councillors CHCC will get a bad reputation if their vote doesn’t do what Management advises them to do, what Management says.

    Righto. Bring on Waste. With this issue, over the coals, the public now has a chance to see how Management really operates behind that veil. Let’s hope no councillor is afraid if it’s not a pretty sight. At least we’ll see who they are.

    1. A question worth asking too is; “Is it also true Council has spent in the vicinity of $15m on legal costs relating to the Biomass court cases and others pertaining to Handybin and Coffs Coast Waste Services?”

      CCO has been informed the above figure may be very ‘close to the mark’.

      1. Surely that’s joking? But it can be easily believed, sadly. Where has the governing body been for the last five years?

        If an executive or manager under these circumstances considers it helpful, and the path to take, to (ferociously) belt up a contract partner using lawyers, instead of sitting down and working it out, then those sums are actually even likely. Management’s attitude should be interrogated intensely, with nothing untouched.

        A councillor called for an Extraordinary Meeting over $1.5 million. What is troubling is that the councillors may feel like they’ve done their dash, by that, and resort on Thursday to some questions then settle on calling for a council-produced ‘report’. Featherweight and meaningless.

        This issue, even before your addition, CCO requires investigating of the strongest order, using the legislation to its fullest extent.

      2. Sorry folks, if one Councillor describes a $1.5 million unseen overspend as “shocking” then this figure of $15 million in legal costs doesn’t have a word to describe it.

        Imagine if Management told the public today that the so-called CCS would cost an extra $15 million, what would happen? That CHCC building would have its walls brought down by 5pm.

        This is banging on the doors of the ‘ICAC territory’ in my view. Misuse of public funds?

        Undoubtedly, this figure provided by CCO was provided publicly with every probable reason for it being factual. If the legal costs for Waste is not investigated fully by current councillors, to the fullest extent legislation allows, this LGA is in worse trouble than we know.

        Whatever can it be for? Please consider this: If Management deems it appropriate to spend the known $1 Million Plus to belt up a contract partner, with whom it has to work, daily, let alone another $15 million in legal fees — then it has failed to produce an appropriate or effective contract to serve the community in the first place. (Think about it.) There is no way out for Management on this. It has failed either way you look at it.

        If the figure comes back as wholly determined truth, when other paths could be taken, then there is only one consequence, for a start in my opinion:

        Sacked on the spot.

  8. So these cheques that the council have been writing to pay legal fees I assume must have been all under $200,000.00 is that not the maximum they can write without going to the councilors if my memory serves me correctly that amount was passed a year or so ago ?

    And if they did ask permission to write such cheques , how useless are our elected councilors .

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