Ballina Waste Management Team Leader Michael Dobbs at the dump site council says will last only a few more years.
Ballina Waste Management Team Leader Michael Dobbs at the dump site council says will last only a few more years. The Northern Star

Councils co-operate on regional landfill plan

THE Ballina rubbish tip is not a never-ending hole in the ground, which is why Ballina Shire Council is looking at future ways to dispose of the 25,000 tonnes of rubbish buried at its waste facility each year.

And it seems that creating a bigger, regional landfill could be the way of the future.

Council staff has recommended Ballina go into partnership with Richmond Valley Council to develop a regional waste facility, which Richmond Valley has been looking into creating for the past few years.

Civil services group manager John Truman said while there was no rush, as Ballina had approval and enough space to bury the shire's rubbish for the next 20 years, it was an 'appropriate time' to be investigating the option as the local landfill sites would not last for ever.

"It would be an investment in options," he said. "That way, in 10 years when our landfill reaches capacity, the council and community would have the option to choose between a regional facility and creating another landfill at Ballina.

"The regional facility may or may not be more economic than building our next landfill ... but it would be good to have the option."

Several years ago the North East Waste Forum funded a preliminary study into a regional waste facility and identified some possible locations, one being a 160ha Bora Ridge site owned by Richmond Valley Council.

Richmond Valley has allocated funds to commence the preparation of environmental reports and other approval documentation, with tenders for the work expected to be called for in the first part of the coming financial year.

Peter Cotterill, Richmond Valley Council's manager of environmental health and regulatory control, said that while Richmond Valley's two landfills had plenty of space, the council was well aware of future waste disposal needs for councils in the region.

"While there isn't any urgency now, we don't want to be in a situation 10 years down the track where we are saying we should have done something," he said.

Mr Cotterill said it would take about six to eight years for a regional waste facility to be developed, which was why starting negotiations now was appropriate.

Ballina councillors will vote at a meeting today on the recommendation to go into partnership with Richmond Valley.


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