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Saturday, August 15, 2020

Cr Karen Egan, Millumbik Mayor

NILLUMBIK: Council acts on soil dumping

Soil dumping at Chapel Lane, Doreen, was the focus of a report on radio station’s 3AW Rumour File segment last week.

Cr Karen Egan, Mayor of Nillumbik Council, issued a statement calling for the State Government to act immediately.

“We call on the Minister for Planning to initiate immediate reforms to State planning provisions in order to enable councils to regulate soil and fill-dumping within their boundaries,” Cr Egan said.

“This incident yet again highlights a significant issue facing peri-urban councils, an issue we have raised previously.

“The existing Victorian planning provisions greatly inhibit Council’s ability to act on this issue.

“Council is however, seeking legal advice to determine whether a breach of the Nillumbik Shire Planning Scheme may have occurred.

“As we’ve seen, the effects of fill dumping in a Green Wedge Zone are not limited to the site of the works.

“The damage to surrounding roads and infrastructure along with disruption to the local community can be considerable.

“Without proper planning control and the ability to carefully consider and monitor such activity, soil dumping could lead to irreparable damage or costly, time consuming remediation works.

“Of particular concern is the potential for damage to land used for food production, to our waterways and ecosystems.

“Council has commenced works to repair the damage to local roads as a result of the increased volume of heavy trucks used to deliver the fill to the sites on Chapel Lane.

“We are also investigating the possible extent of any other damage – to infrastructure or environment.

“We ask the State Government to work with Councils and peak bodies on a range of necessary measures including:

• Prioritising reforms to improve and strengthen state planning controls, including a provision to enable councils to better regulate the disposal of fill in Green Wedge Zones;
• Improving land use definitions; and
• Considering a measurable permit trigger (for example, 100 cubic metre threshold).

“This is an issue of great importance to peri-urban councils and their local communities and we look forward to working constructively with the State Government to address it,” Cr Egan said.