The Lithgow Mercury polled readers on the issues they consider most important in the community. This week, we look at a proposed waste burning facility. An email was sent to each ungrouped candidate and each lead candidate in each group on Monday, November 8 asking for their response.
Candidate Peter Pilbeam and Stephen Lesslie did not respond by the deadline.
Stephen Lesslie (Group E lead candidate)
I oppose the burning of Sydney's waste in our LGA.
I oppose the incinerator and have done so on every occasion it has come to Council. In July 2019 I asked a Question on Notice at Lithgow Council about media reports of an Energy Recovery Project at Mt Piper.
In February 2020 I voted to advise the Government that Lithgow Council opposes the burning of Sydney's waste at Mt Piper. Of the six Councillors standing for re-election only Councillor Coleman and myself voted to oppose the burning of Sydney's waste at Mt Piper.
At the September 2021 Council meeting I successfully moved that Lithgow Council advise the NSW Government that we oppose this toxic incinerator.
This toxic incinerator will pollute farms, our air, our waterways, water tanks and vegetable gardens for ever. Farmers will have trouble selling produce from an area affected by this pollution. There will also be a massive loss of jobs when our potential tourism industry fails to grow.
Maree Statham (Group F lead candidate)
The proposed waste burning facility is a State Government initiative and something all residents should be aware of. When it comes to projects like this, it is critical that council staff AND Councillors engage with the State Government to ensure the BEST outcome is achieved for our community.
Steven Ring (Group B lead candidate)
Closing date for submissions on Energy Australia's proposal was the 28 February, 2020 and at the Council meeting on the 24 February 2020 no decision was made on the proposal by Council. The Department of Planning was advised by Lithgow Council that
'Council has no position on the matter at this time'
Cassandra Coleman (Group A lead candidate)
Many residents of Greater Lithgow are looking for the winds of change in the upcoming Council elections to bring a new and lasting vision for the region.
The establishment of a waste incinerator to burn Sydney's plastic and other waste is not the type of change they are seeking.
For residents of Lithgow, Portland, and Wallerawang the answer is blowing in the wind.
Out of all the issues people have spoken to the team about, this has provided us with the strongest and clearest community voice, local people do NOT want the waste incinerator.
Our position is supported by:
Planning authorities who have rejected the proposal for locations in Western Sydney on health and environmental impacts.
In areas where it was first proposed 12,000 residents signed a petition opposing it, now we see it moved from the area generating the waste to our area for us to live with the potential pollution and health impacts.
Regional communities in Goulburn and Casino are now mobilising to oppose their towns being the location of a waste incinerator.
Goes against the great work from previous Lithgow Councils to address Lithgow's poor air quality particularly during winter.
Considering all of this we will not be supporting the waste incinerator if the Cass Coleman Community Team are elected.
I am on record as supporting the proposal as an individual based on research that I had undertaken and a full review of the Environmental Impact Statement.
Until the Waste to Energy Plan was released not one Councillor revisited the issue why?. Regulations are now being drafted to give life to this plan.
I voted against the motion to oppose the plan because it fails to engage the government to get a better result for our community or answer critical questions
From the public survey that my team undertook, our community wants better relationship between Council and the State Government.
The waste to energy issue did not rank in the communities top ten issues it was raised by less than 5 per cent of respondents. As such we will continue review our position on this issue..
In my opinion, Energy Australia will not proceed with this project but proceed with pumped hydro. If the waste proposal being processed proceeds, it will then go the Independent Planning Authority and public consultation will commence afresh. Council needs to formulate a high - level response either for or against. If re-elected I will support the majority decision of Council.
Darryl Goodwin (Group D lead candidate)
Our team does not support the waste to energy proposal in its current form. We believe that insufficient information was provided to council for an informed decision to be made. Acknowledging the public sentiment, it is important the following areas are given full consideration before deciding:
- Significant Government consultation with the community with all facts presented
- Consultation with Council and Councillors
- Clear and apparent material benefit to our LGA
- Information on impacts, safeguards and actual benefits
- Assurance of proposal stimulating our economy
- Accompanying economic strategies
- Proposed material benefits we will get in the community
- Financial compensation from Sydney metro Councils to our council
- Consideration of rail as transport