The Land and Environment Court has rejected Pasminco’s attempt to change environmental monitoring conditions at the former Boolaroo lead smelter site.
Pasminco Cockle Creek Smelter, the company set up by administrator Ferrier Hodgson after the smelter closed in 2001, appealed last month against the Minister for Planning’s deemed refusal to modify consent conditions governing the remediation and development of the land.
It sought, in part, to delete requirements for water and erosion management and to end air-quality management when earthworks at the site were complete.
Pasminco’s initial application to the Department of Planning and Environment in January said it could not afford to pay for future monitoring until it sold part of the land to IKEA late next year.
The company has remediated most of the site, including excavating contaminated soil and placing it in a containment cell, since the project was approved in 2007. It has sold parts of the land to property developers.
Land and Environment Court chief judge Brian J. Preston rejected Pasminco’s application late last week because not all the owners of the subject land had consented to the appeal.
He said this ruling made it unnecessary to determine whether the modifications should be approved.
“The Minister’s approval continues to apply to land on which the applicant has completed remediation works and to regulate post remediation activities including environmental monitoring, notifying regulatory authorities of material changes in the conditions of the site or surrounding environment, providing information to the community and dealing with community complaints,” Justice Preston wrote in his judgment.
“The land on which the project is to be carried out continues to be the whole of the land on which the Minister approved the carrying out of the project.”
Boolaroo Action Group member Jim Sullivan hailed the decision as a win for residents demanding that Pasminco meet the conditions for subdividing and selling the land, including managing the 45-metre-deep containment cell.
The cell contains about 1.9 million cubic metres of toxic material.
The company’s application to the DPE said it would earn about $57.7 million in land sales at Boolaroo, including $22 million from IKEA and $11.5 million from Costco.
The department has proposed a new site-specific clause in planning laws which would effectively force the company to pay for ongoing maintenance and monitoring.
Green Capital Group, the developer behind a planned 750-lot housing estate on part of the Boolaroo site, is taking Pasminco to court alleging the company has not complied with conditions of a land sale by an agreed date.
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