Sale transfer station is likely to be closed

PROHIBITIVE running costs are likely to force Wellington Shire Council to close its Sale transfer station.

Council will on Tuesday night receive a report regarding the future of the facility, located on Lacey St adjacent to Stephenson Park.

It has been recommended council begins the process for the closure of the transfer station to occur on June 30 next year.

If the transfer station closes, members of the community will be able to drop off recyclable items at the Sale depot of council’s waste contractor Towards Zero.

Opened more than 30 years ago, the transfer station’s infrastructure is reaching the end of its operational life and does not comply with contemporary best practice guidelines or health and safety standards.

Works required to upgrade the facility are estimated at $200,000. The cost to decommission the site is likely to be a similar amount.

Wellington Shire mayor Scott Rossetti said council must always consider not only immediate costs, but the ongoing long term costs of its aging infrastructure.

“We currently have $200,000 in our budget to either upgrade, or decommission the Sale transfer station,” he said.

“While the cost to either upgrade or decommission is similar, the factors we must take into consideration are the ongoing cost of both operating and maintaining the facility; and the alternatives for our residents who currently use it.

“The cost to operate the Sale transfer station this financial year will be in excess of $225,000.

“The cost to council to process one tonne of waste at our best practice resource recovery facility at Kilmany is $34.38. In comparison, the cost at Sale transfer station, due to the low volumes of waste received, is an astonishing $855.03.”

Cr Rossetti said less then 600 people a month made use of the Sale transfer station, compared to more than 1500 at Kilmany.

“Data shows that the facility is only used by Sale residents and much of the evidence highlights that many Sale residents already choose Kilmany over Sale,” he said.

Towards Zero has offered to provide recycling bins for community use at its Sale depot on Wellington Way just off Somerton Park Rd, from 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

“Local residents will be able to use these facilities to drop off paper and cardboard, scrap steel and empty bottles,” Cr Rossetti said.

“We do know that there are residents who make use of the Sale transfer station for items other than recycling. The numbers aren’t great, but those residents would be required to travel the 12 kilometres to Kilmany should council decide to close the Sale facility.

“We recognise that this may cause some inconvenience however looking around waste facilities in Gippsland and regional Victoria, driving distances to modern transfer stations can typically be up to 20 or 25km so Kilmany, as a regional facility, sits well within that benchmark for Sale residents.

“The council the report indicates that the inconvenience for some would be offset by huge savings in annual operating costs for the benefit of all Wellington residents.

“At the end of the day, keeping downward pressure on council costs is something that we endeavour to keep at the forefront of our decisions.”

Council will consider the potential closure of the Sale transfer station at its meeting, from 6pm Tuesday night at the Port of Sale Civic Centre.