Incinerator the hot topic in Sydney’s west

The time has come for the state government to decide whether an incinerator will be dumped on residents around Eastern Creek.

Months of mostly one-sided debate has made the community’s position clear – they don’t want it.

That firm stance has also been echoed by Blacktown Council and local state and federal MPs – Mulgoa’s Tanya Davies aside. Penrith Council belatedly threw its weight behind residents last month.

It remains to be seen what the famously developer-friendly government and its planning department choose to do.

Logic would assume the health and safety of residents would be front and centre in debate during the decision process, and that would surely send The Next Generation’s proposal up in smoke.

TNG have tried to assure residents that the energy-from-waste plant would not create, or increase, health risks for people living in the area. 

Full disclosure - I’m not an environmental scientist, but I’ve followed this story enough to know that there are serious questions raised by the models used in the proposal’s environmental impact statement.

As a country, we need to find a new way of cutting down our unsustainable reliance on landfill.

Energy-from-waste does seem like a good idea – in the right environment. It’s been used in European countries for decades, but experts are now recommending a move away from that technology.

In the end, wouldn’t it just be nice for people power to prevail for once? 

It’s those residents living in suburbs like Minchinbury and Erskine Park who have suffered through the almost unbearable smells emanating from waste facilities in Eastern Creek. 

The same smell motorists who use the M4 between St Marys and Blacktown would know all too well.

And it’s those residents who will, through no fault of their own, potentially be putting themselves, and their children, in harms way. 

The worth of their homes will also surely plummet once 100-metre-plus smoke stacks are erected one kilometre from their backyards. All the while, the plant’s owners will rake in money by taking in waste from across the city, as the west’s status as Sydney’s dumping ground is confirmed.

  • Heath Parkes-Hupton is a reporter with Fairfax Media in north-west Sydney.