Latrobe City Council officers have recommended Energy Brix Australia's application to establish a cell to contain asbestos waste from the upcoming demolition of Morwell Power Station on site be approved.
Councillors will vote on the application at tonight's Latrobe City Council meeting after deferring it multiple times, citing fears for community safety due to the proximity of the proposed cell to the Morwell township.
The Environment Protection Authority approved the application earlier in the year, however, the project also requires the approval of Latrobe City Council in order to go ahead.
Council last heard the application in June and councillors decided site liquidator EBAC must investigate whether or not Hazelwood Power Station owner ENGIE would be prepared to lease or sell nearby land further away from Morwell for the asbestos cell if the two could share an asbestos disposal cell.
A council officer's report stated this option was investigated with a meeting taking place between representatives from council, EBAC, ENGIE, EPA, DELWP, Cr Graeme Middlemiss, Cr Alan McFarlane and Latrobe City mayor Darrell White.
While discussion was considered to be "quite positive" with all parties open to the idea of a shared facility or a lease/sale arrangement, the report stated that "for this to be achieved a number of issues need to be worked through" and "council officers continue to work with all relevant departments and parties in relation to matter to progress an alternative solution".
With demolition of the power station slated for September, EBAC site remediation manager Barry Dungey told The Express in early July it was more than likely that, despite efforts to find another solution, at least some asbestos material from the site would need to be trucked to a specialised facility on the other side of Melbourne.
"The reality is my project starts in September and what I am fearful of [is] all we are doing is using up time which will result in me only having one option," he said at the time.
"What I expect now is that some material is going to be going down the road.
"You need to make the safest choice based on the technical advice available and we believe the safest choice is the one we have been recommending since May [last year]."
Council officers have recommended the application be granted with a number of amenity conditions including restrictions regarding operation times, the provision of an environmental management plan, the requirement of GPS location marking to be recorded on both EPA and council databases and others.
Councillors will vote on the application at a Latrobe City Council meeting tonight, which can be viewed live online tonight at www.facebook.com/LatrobeCity.
For more information on the proposed asbestos cell or to view the council report, visit latrobe.vic.gov.au/About_Us/Our_Council/Minutes_and_Agendas.