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CICCC Update – 9 December 2004 Meeting
99 Moreland St “Call In” and Port buffer planning controls
At its meeting on 9 December 2004, the CICCC discussed the determination by the Maribyrnong City Council to grant a planning permit for the development of “Maribyrnong Wharf”, a multi-level, riverfront office complex about 200 metres from Coode Island. The complex would house about 3,000 workers if built. Terminals Pty Ltd and Marstel, the companies involved in storing bulk liquid chemicals at Coode Island, along with other port users, have raised strong concerns and Marstel has appealed the determination to VCAT (the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal). The companies were concerned that encroachment of development with large numbers of workers would inevitably make the operation of their port related activities more difficult, with a greater likelihood of concerns about potential amenity impacts.
Subsequently the Minister for Planning has “called in” the appeal, effectively taking it out of the control of VCAT. The Minister is appointing an Advisory Committee (as provided in Part 7 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987) to provide advice on a buffer strategy and interim planning controls around the Port of Melbourne, and specific advice on the merits of the 99 Moreland St application. The Terms of Reference from the Minister for the Advisory Committee require it to report by 30 April (or earlier).
Cr Colleen Hartland, the Maribyrnong City Council’s representative on the CICCC, posed the question “Why is the buffer study being done now at the request of industry, when requests by the community have resulted in no action since the 1991 fires and explosion?”
Quentin Cooke told the Committee “EPA believes the proposal at 99 Moreland St is an inappropriate development, given its juxtaposition with Coode Island. The buffer study needs to address both amenity issues and risk through appropriate Quantitative Risk Assessments.”
The CICCC is concerned to ensure that:
- the important issue of buffer zones around the port is not rushed;
- the work of the Advisory Committee is based on adequate studies undertaken to address human health and safety, environmental impact, and social well being, including, for example, Quantitative Risk Assessment;
- studies commissioned, or relied upon, by the Advisory Committee are publicly available prior to submittors finalising their submissions to the Advisory Committee; and that
- the procedures of the Advisory Committee facilitate community input.
The CICCC is writing to the Advisory Committee to express these concerns, and will make a submission to the Committee.
Relinquishment of East Side leases
Once again, the announced timetable for the end of storage of bulk liquid chemicals by Terminals Pty Ltd on the east side of Mackenzie Road has been extended. Subsequent to previous extensions of the Terminals’ lease, first by 6 months, and then by another 12 months, the date for handover to P&O Ports has been extended by a further 3 months to 30 April 2005. The extensions to the handover have been caused by delays in the construction and commissioning of the new Marstel facility at Coode Island.
In the meantime, Terminals Pty Ltd has made good progress with the decommissioning and transport of 9 east-side tanks. The 9 tanks have been moved to Terminals ongoing operational site on the west side of Mackenzie Road, where they are subject to complete inspection and repair as needed, installation on impervious foundations, and fit-out with state-of-the-art sensors and controls.
Truck impacts on local streets
Ian Butterworth, the Transport Manager at Maribyrnong City Council, provided the CICCC with an overview of initiatives to manage truck impacts on local streets. Council adopted the Maribyrnong Integrated Transport Strategy in 2002, and has set up the Transport Reference Group, to assist in the implementation of the strategy. The Group recently ran a successful Freight Forum attended by about 60 people. Another initiative that Council is involved in is the Yarraville Working Group, established and chaired by Bruce Mildenhall MP, Member for Footscray. The group has had success with trailer parks and truck curfews. Early reductions on night-time truck traffic on Francis Street and Whitehall Road have been eroded in the last year, and Council has written to VicRoads requesting increased enforcement. In response to a question from Community Representative Michael Isaachsen, Ian told the CICCC that the Government’s target for rail freight was for 30% by rail. Council would like to see the proportion of freight diverted to rail increased to 40% or even 50%.
Quentin Cook advised the Committee that EPA has nominated Richard Marks as the new client manager for Terminals Pty Ltd. Quentin will continue to take an interest in Coode Island, while acting as a group-leader for EPA’s Western Region.
Next meeting of the CICCC
The next meeting of the CICCC will be held on Thursday 3 February 2005 at the Maribyrnong Town Hall on the corner of Hyde and Napier Streets, Footscray at 6.30 pm. Members of the public are welcome to attend the meeting. The Committee will develop its submission to the Advisory Committee reviewing the Port buffer planning controls, and Terminals’ new draft Environment Improvement Plan.
Robin Saunders, Chair CICCC, 13 December 2004.