Vital rural transport proposal goes down the toilet
PLANS to develop a new livestock effluent disposal site along a busy highway has hit a roadblock, with the Department of Main Roads and Transport refusing to support the project.
To support rural industries transporting livestock, Somerset Regional Council has been working with the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association to find a suitable location to establish the site, with the existing truck rest area at Colinton being selected as an ideal location.
"Unfortunately, this development to support our rural industries has been squashed by Main Roads, and that is bitterly disappointing," Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann said.
"The facility was to be constructed within the state-controlled road corridor on the existing Colinton truck rest area site, but without Main Roads support, council is unable to progress the application."
Insufficient disposal locations, especially during long journeys, can lead to overflowing tanks and unpleasant wastewater spillages on major roads and highways.
Incidents such as this affect not only traffic but can also have environmental impacts when the wastewater runs off the roads.
The council was in full support of the project and had already engaged an engineering company to prepare a feasibility study into the concept of building the facility at Colinton, and to address environmental concerns surrounding effluent spillages.
It was after receiving this report that Main Roads advised it did not support the construction of the facility at the Colinton location.
The ALRTA had already secured funding to construct an effluent disposal facility on the D'Aguilar Highway and the SRC intended to pursue a grant to contribute towards construction costs as well.
Cr Lehmann said the council had elected to write to the Transport and Main Roads Minister to express its disappointment.
"We will be asking Main Roads to find a suitable location within Somerset to address these valid environmental concerns," he said.
A Transport and Main Roads spokesperson explained the rationale behind the refusal.
"We advised SRC we do not support the proposal due to serious road safety and environmental considerations, as well as potential impacts to the intended use of the truck stop as a heavy vehicle rest area," they said.
"These issues have not been resolved through ALRTA's proposal.We will continue to work with other agencies, including the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, on industry waste management solutions and provide support as required."