This George Town based company is doing some great work in recycling plastics. They are one of just three companies in Australia that does the complete recycling process from taking the discarded plastic items and converting them into new products. Currently they concentrate on high Density Polyethelene – HDPE (rigid plastics such as pipes and parts from fish farms) but will be expanding to soft plastics (LDPE). This will include plastic bags that are a big issue for the environment. They are unique because they collect, recycle and manufacture plastic waste all under one roof.
Our biggest problem is sorting. Currently we’re told NOT to put soft plastics into recycling – mainly because there are so many different types of soft plastic and they need to be sorted before they can be processed – and that costs more than the value of the recovered materials – but there is technology on the horizon that will automate this process – and make it viable.
Did you realise that biodegradable bags are a big problem? I used to think that they are good for the environment – no way! They break down into microplastics which still stay in the environment and work their way into the food chain – several states in Australia are currently banning them. Another big issue is that these bags harm the recycling process if they get mixed in with the normal plastic bags – and as they are difficult to tell apart it has become issue – hence the ban.
Read more about recent upgrades for Envorinex here.
You may recall the in June last year, Council refused a planning application for expansion to the servo at the corner of West Tamar Highway and Bridgenorth Road. The details are in my blog.
The developers appealed the decision and after nearly 12 months the Resource Management and Planning Tribunal has handed down its’ decision and have dismissed the appeal in other words, they have refused the development. It was an expensive exercise but it is important to remind everybody that the West Tamar Council will, if necessary, make hard decisions and back them up legally.
The grounds for the refusal can be read at:
The main argument was the intensification – basically, if you have a development in a place where it shouldn’t be then you can expand it. There were physical increases -canopy size from 132m2 to 799m2 as well as increased opening times and most significantly an 83% increase in customer volume.
Personally, my biggest concern was traffic volumes and the intersection with Bridgenorth Road. If you have ever tried to leave the servo, heading to Launceston on a busy wet evening you would realise how dangerous it is.
I would like to see a roundabout here, that would solve the above problem (vehicles would exit onto Bridgenorth Road, then onto the roundabout) it would also solve the current issue whereby vehicles take the rat-run through Kavala St and down to the Acropolis drive roundabout to avoid the sometime slow and dangerous Bridgenorth Road intersection.
Eventually the Highway there will be a 4 lane separated highway which will mean that the servo can only get customers who are travelling North – so surely a roundabout would be essential at that stage – but hopefully we can get one before then.
I attended two community meetings at Deviot last week on the Deviot Landslide issue. This project is being run by West Tamar Council and there’s a steering committee comprising:
Both meetings were well attended – over 50 residents plus council staff – including council GM and chief engineer. Andrew gave an outline of the process and Derek went to some detail on the geology of the area of what could be the causes. He invited any residents with landslip issues – as well as people who had long term knowledge of the area to contact him so he could visit their properties and gain a greater insights.
Derek is camping at the Deviot Hall so it is convenient to have such access to a qualified expert. As Andrew said – “landslip – the ignored natural disaster”. We know so much about bushfire and floods – but those disasters still happen. Our knowledge of landslip is lacking – especially in the community – but even the experts are learning. Whereas we all know how to prepare our house for a bushfire we’re not so knowledgeable about preparing out house to best mitigate landslides.
It’s also apparent that many areas of the valley have similar problems. There is a map showing landslide hazard bands readily available the “The List” website and it shows areas of high risk in many locations.
One of the object of Derek’s report – which will be released at the end of September is to determine the causes, effects and impacts and from that information we can mitigate the problem. Alex, a geologist from Switzerland recounting a cheering story from Verbier where they had serious geological issues that were affecting the values of property – but once the problem was understood and measures put in place to mitigate the effect then confidence returned to the area and it has thrived.
Its apparent to me that we can’t change nature – and when we change the land we can have unwanted consequences. Many year ago, there would have been a few shacks and a gravel road – probably not a big impact on the land and the locals that built were very familiar with their land. Along comes a bitumen road and large houses, maybe cut into the profile. Waste water systems handing much greater volumes than ever, wholesale tree clearance and large impervious areas with inadequate drainage. Everything you shouldn’t do in a landslip area!
There are many things that can be done to help the situation and Andrew has guides on sympathetic design for landslip areas. Derek’s reports will highlight things that need to done – I’m pretty sure road drainage is going to get a mention but there may be other short term solutions that can help.
Andrew has stated that this report will not fit on his shelf and the problems will not be pushed aside so I’m confident things can only get better.
Please feel free to contact me if you need any information.
I attended the FOGO facility at the Launceston Remount Road today. A cool 2 degrees. The visit was organised by the Northern Waste Management Group.
The process: The waste is first sorted (manually!) to remove any contaminants. Currently it’s very low as most people do the right thing and don’t put the wrong items in the bin – under 1% - if that number increases it can become unviable and then the whole lot ends up in landfill – so follow the rules! The most common contaminant is the small plastic tubs that plants come it.
"most people do the right thing and don’t put the wrong items in the bin".
It’s then stacked up and the pile is covered in mulch. Under the piles are a series of pipes that introduce air into the piles via a fan that blows for 3 seconds every 30 seconds – this creates aerobic composting.
The temperature and oxygen content of the piles is monitored – once the material has been at over 55 degrees for 3 days then all the nasties will have been terminated such as pathogens and seeds.
The piles are moved over a period weeks until a very usable compost emerges from the final pile. This is finally screened ( a large sieve) to remove any items that have not broken down.
Communities are becoming more aware of recycling generally and Australian community consultation around the issue of green waste recycling shows high satisfaction levels in people knowing their organic wastes are being recycled.
The West Tamar Council is proud to announce that from July 1, Food Organics Garden Organics (FOGO) kerbside collection will begin in the Trevallyn, Riverside and Legana area. This program may spread to other areas if there is enough interest to make it viable.
The opt in service incurs a one-off cost of $65. This payment covers the cost of a 240lt bin and information material. The collection includes food and garden waste such as kitchen scraps, lawn clippings, small branches and garden debris. The fortnightly service is a convenient way for households to recycle food and garden organics with the potential to save on inconvenient trips to the tip and help by reducing landfill and greenhouse gas emissions.
More details to come as the start date approaches. Feel free to email me for any more details.
You'll regularly find me at the Exeter Market and other community events. Feel free to come and say hello, and discuss everything from the weather to developments you want to see along the West Tamar.
Remember, the Exeter Market is run by volunteers, with funds raised going towards good causes in the region.
Exeter Market takes place from 9am – 1.30pm at the Exeter Showgrounds. I will see you there.
The very first Farmgate Festival was held at the end of November. This was an initiative by my fellow councillor , Carol Bracken, and I was part of the organising committee. Around 15 farms and wineries, some not normally open to the public, gave tours and tastings over a slightly damp weekend. It was a fantastic success - and farms are keen to participate in the 2018 event. A festival dinner was held at Velo, featuring Massimo Mele as celebrity chef and utilising local produce - this event sold out early - so be prepared for the next Festival!
Gill and I organised the annual Christmas with Friends at the Exeter Rec Centre on Christmas Day. This is an annual event funded by your council - for those who might be alone or away from family. Last year I was the barman and the year before in the kitchen - so I have been promoted. Over 60 people attended and were entertained with carols by the talented singer Stephanie Quinn and her dad on the trumpet. Kerry Quinn in the kitchen served up a great meal and Kerry Finch on the mike was our wonderful MC.
There was a few lucky door prizes and everyone got a bunch of lilies to take home (my son-in-law, Rob Sadler, has a lily farm and kindly donated these.)
This year we organised lifts for the people who didn't have transport - this really worked out well as I had to take one gentleman to Holwell and a lady to Legana and by the time I got back to Exeter all the washing up and clearing had been done!
Many thanks to all the volunteers who helped Gill and I make it a great event.
To go from an almost unused facility a mere 6 months ago to the busiest community hall in the municipality is an amazing achievement and it's all due to the local community pulling together to save this beautiful hall. Gill and I attended the Festival of Small Halls this weekend and it was fantastic to see the hall in action again. The professional artists were very good but my favourite was actually the local amateur band - the Bowen Jetty Band - well done!
Council will continue to support this hall - over the last few months we've varnished the floor and installed heaters in the supper room - and there's more to come.
Update - January 2018