Waste facility funds doubt

Pierra Willix and Emily AceBusselton Dunsborough Times
Millions in funding for a regional waste facility to be used by 12 South West local governments is in doubt.
Camera IconMillions in funding for a regional waste facility to be used by 12 South West local governments is in doubt.

Millions of dollars in funding for a regional waste facility to be used by 12 South West local governments is in doubt after Capel Shire Council withdrew support for the preferred site on the back of public backlash.

The council recently voted to withdraw its request for 16 Goodwood Road — currently crown land — to be vested with the Shire after concerns were raised about the site’s environmental sensitivity, as reported by the Times last week.

The move leaves $4.2 million of State Government funding in limbo, which Shire chief executive Paul Sheedy said was intended to be spent “four or five years ago as part of Royalties For Regions”.

“As the new Government came in, they drew a line in the sand, saying in December this year, all those funds had to be acquitted,” he said.

“I think the Government’s concern is how long are we going to leave it sitting there before it gets spent.”

The South West Group of Councils is now investigating other sites identified in a report prepared by Talis Consulting.

Conservationists welcomed news the Goodwood Road site was off the table but are anxious to learn what other sites would be explored.

The Times’ attempts to determine where the other sites would be were fruitless, with the City of Busselton, which is acting as an administering body, confirming the report was considered commercial in-confidence.

“The Talis Consulting Report is commercially sensitive and therefore confidential,” City engineering and works services Oliver Darby said.

“At this point in time no comment can be provided on alternate locations for a regional waste facility as investigations into potential sites are still under way.”

Capel Shire chief executive Paul Sheedy said the group had sent a proposal to Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan about retaining the funding and was waiting on a response.

Mr Sheedy said the group of councils had asked to either retain all of the funds for an alternative proposal, or at least a portion to undertake further investigations on another suitable site once it was identified.

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