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Potential shutdown ‘equivalent to loss of a major quarry’

Zoning rules could force Alex Fraser Group to cease operations at its Clarinda site, south-east of Melbourne, unless local authorities grant a 15-year extension to its operating permit.

The recycled aggregates producer is urging the Kingston City Council to back its proposal, believing a shutdown of the facility would be akin to
losing a major quarry in Victoria.

There are also fears the site’s closure would be a double blow for the state, which is already struggling to supply adequate material for infrastructure projects, in the midst of an escalating recycling crisis.

Alex Fraser’s Clarinda Recycling Facility, which commenced operations in 2009, faces an uncertain future due to the Kingston City Council rezoning the land as part of a Green Wedge Plan released in 2015. Since then, the company has worked – unsuccessfully – with the Victorian Government and others to identify potential alternative locations.

The company, whose current permit expires in 2023, has sought a 15-year extension to continue operating at the site, while it continues to find a new location in an appropriately zoned area.

“A shutdown would have a significant impact on Victoria’s major infrastructure projects, as well as the recycling crisis,” Alex Fraser managing director Peter Murphy told Quarry.

{{quote-A:R-W:175-I:2-Q:“A shutdown would have a significant impact on Victoria’s major infrastructure projects, as well as the recycling crisis” -who:Peter Murphy, Alex Fraser}}“One million tonnes of recycling could end up in landfill instead of being reprocessed into the construction materials so urgently needed to build major and municipal projects planned for the south- east.

“The shutdown of Clarinda would be equivalent to the loss of a major quarry in terms of resource availability. It could mean having to establish a new major metro quarry to offset the shortfall of one million tonnes of materials.”

According to Alex Fraser, the site is also not part of the nearby “Chain of Parks” concept planned for the area. If Clarinda were to close, the landowners would need to find new tenants, with the possibility it could become a blighted property that offers no value to the community or the environment.

The Clarinda operation supplies recycled construction materials to projects including the Level Crossing Removal Projects, the Monash Freeway Upgrade, the Thompsons Road Upgrade, and the Hallam Road Upgrade. It is also ideally located to supply the planned Suburban Rail Loop, the South Eastern Roads Upgrade and the Mordialloc Freeway.

Murphy said there had been no viable alternative sites in south-east Melbourne in proximity to the areas where waste is generated, as well as current infrastructure projects.

“The new site would need to be large enough, have adequate screening, bunding, close to the existing road network and in proximity to incoming and outgoing markets to be viable,” he said.

Commenting on the need for a 15-year extension, Murphy added: “It takes five years to move an operation of this scale. And we still need to locate a new site.

“Also, considering the many major infrastructure projects planned for the immediate vicinity, this extension period would secure a reliable supply of recycled product into these priority projects, without blowing out costs on transportation.”

Council non-committal

Kingston City mayor Georgina Oxley confirmed Alex Fraser Group’s application was received on 3 September but she was unclear about how the council would proceed going forward.

“In 2015, Kingston Council welcomed protections for Kingston’s Green Wedge that were introduced by the Victorian Planning Minister that would ensure existing waste operations would cease at the end of their current permits and that no new operations would be allowed,” she told Quarry.

“Council wrote to the Planning Minister in April 2015 calling on the government to help Alex Fraser find an alternative site to ensure its long-term success while ensuring the end of waste-related activities in the Green Wedge.

“Invest Victoria has been working with Alex Fraser to identify suitable alternative sites. Council strongly supports the recycling sector and has a range of successful recycling businesses operating outside the Green Wedge within its industrial zoned areas.”





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