The scientific resources listed directly below are in the hands of the Gold Coast City Council and relevant state government departments. The Yatala community were keen to ensure that KEY ISSUES were tabled and fully appreciated before the appeal case proceeded. The issues are extremely serious. Surprisingly the Council lawyers decided not to fight an appeal which Phoenix raised against the Council. The lawyers said they had “no scientific evidence that the biomass plant was a health hazzard”!!!!!!!!!
ISSUE 1 - Too close for comfort.
The project involves a large 30 metre high chimney that will bellow waste smoke and chemicals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in between two suburbs and very close to schools and amenities on the western side of the M1 Highway. The prevailing winds in the area are from the south-east which means the emissions from the chimney would be blown directly over the Yatala residential area. There are 3 residential properties in Sandy Creek Road itself, a 850 pupil school and a child care centre only 2kms away and a new residential development site less than one kilometer away.
Council officers did door knock residences in Sandy Creek Road to determine whether they were being residentially occupied and clarified that three homes were being used permanently for that purpose. It is for this reason we have been able to request a review, because homes directly opposite the site and the closest house to the site were not considered by the applicant in the original application as a noise sensitive environment. Donna Gates - local councilor. How bizarre!!!!
ISSUE 2 - Quality of life and health.
Research indicates that the major concern with the emissions from such a biomass generation plant is its potential toxicity with links to an increase in asthma and other respiratory diseases as well as risks to newborns and the elderly. A large number of residences in this area are dependent upon water tanks for their water. There
is major concern that toxic chemicals spewing from the chimney will fall on and accumulate on house and office roofs and be washed into water tanks.
ISSUE 3 - Increased heavy traffic.
The potential increase in heavy vehicle traffic appears not to have been researched or documented.
ISSUE 4 - Duplication and waste of money.
Why would the government approve this new project (1) near residential homes (2) when there is a perfectly good biomass generator sitting idle, which is conveniently placed near the Stapylton Landfill and Recycling Centre - money that is going to be wasted by the Federal Government, and to a degree the State Government, if this application is approved. The Rocky Point operation is directly opposite Yatala, but on the Eastern side of the M1 highway with a sparse rural population consisting primarily of sugar cane farms. This plant has a greater capacity than the proposed Phoenix plant and was already partly funded by the former State Government. The Rocky Point plant previously experienced difficulty in sourcing renewable fuel due to the sugar cane sources being seasonal.
How politicians pass the buck
The application to build the facility by Phoenix has been made to the Gold Coast City Council. ONLY the Council has the power to reject the application (even if the State Government does not object). This issue will continue to be a hot potato and the political football will continue to be kicked from one side to the other because all politicians fear that their constituents might vent their displeasure in a most tangible way.