Residents demand legal action

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By Oliver Lees

A Sunbury residents group is demanding Hume council “consider all legal avenues” against the Victorian government, following its approval of an application to receive contaminated soil at a site in Bulla.

Hi-Quality’s planning scheme amendment application, which gives the builders of the West Gate Tunnel Project, CPB-John Holland, the legal option to use Hi-Quality’s site on Sunbury Road to relocate the soil, was approved by the government last Monday.

The final decision about whether the soil will be taken to Bulla rests with Transurban.

Sunbury resident and admin of Facebook group Sunbury Against Toxic Soil Chris O’Neill has been a vocal critic of the scheme, repeatedly voicing his frustrations at a lack of community consultation.

“We need the council to act in the best interests of the community after being let down by our local member,” he said.

“As a ratepayer, I would demand Hume council launch legal action to stop the scheme.

“If we have to march down the streets, we will.”

Hume council declined to respond as to whether it would be pursuing legal action.

Mayor Joseph Haweil said the approval marked “a really disappointing day for the Bulla and Sunbury communities”.

“Hume City Council cannot be clearer; we do not support the spoil coming to Bulla and continue our opposition to this proposal,” Cr Haweil said.

“We stand by our community’s real concerns for their health, the environment and the impact the traffic congestion this facility will create.

“Council is now considering the implications of this decision and the reasons the Victorian government felt it appropriate to side step the usual process and approve the amendment without public consultation and independent review.”

Council has also flagged concerns regarding the Sunbury Eco-Hub’s proximity to residential developments in Sunbury South and Emu Creek, as well as the likelihood of increased congestion on Sunbury Road as a result of extra truck movements.

Both Melton council and the Moorabool Environment Group have launched legal action in similar cases against the state government, following government approval for the soil to be taken to Ravenhall and Bacchus Marsh.

A Hi-Quality spokesperson has defended its proposal saying the company is “committed to leaving a positive legacy”.

“Hi-Quality has undertaken rigorous assessments… our designs meet and exceed the highest environmental, operational, and safety standards.”