It is unclear what Cleanaway’s next step will be following Federation Council’s decision to take back support for a compost facility on the edge of Howlong.
Federation Council Mayor Pat Bourke said, in his opinion, that there was not enough consultation with the community.
“It was clear that it was dividing the community,” he told the Free Press.
Deputy Mayor Shaun Whitechurch said having to deal with a big issue straight up in the first council meeting put the councillors to the test.
“I believe at the end of the day that the right decision was made,” he said.
“We had a lot of stuff to take in within the first meeting, but because the compost facility has been in everyone’s face and in the media, all of the councillors were aware of the position and the people of Howlong’s position on it as well.
“So, we had an understanding outside of our first council meeting of where things were heading.”
Council confirmed it has notified Cleanaway of its decision.
In a statement Cleanaway said the company was disappointed with the decision.
“We’ve undergone a rigorous review process with important environment, planning and community issues tested at length and believe that we have designed a compliant facility, appropriately co-located with the Howlong landfill and waste water treatment plant,” the statement said.
“We are yet to review our options and are not in a position to comment any further at this stage.”
Meanwhile, the Howlong Community Committee has welcomed the council’s support on rejecting Cleanaway’s development application to lease the land.
“The vote is a step in the right direction for us all moving forward but until Cleanaway withdraw their development application and advise their intent to not pursue the project in writing to Federation Council, we must continue our appeal to the Land and Environment Court,” HCC Treasurer Brian Hardidge said.
“We cannot stop and hope that this is the end of the matter and risk missing appeal deadlines.”
The Western Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) approved the development application to build an organic waste management and composting facility at Howlong on August 29.
The Department of Planning and Environment told the Free Press that JRPP had made its determination and that ended its involvement.
“It is now up to council how they manage the lease arrangements on their land,” the spokesperson said.