The York Shire Council has voted unanimously to receive a report relating to the proposed SITA waste dump, endorse a recommendation to refuse the development application and allow the report to be submitted to the Development Assessment Panel.

The report on the development application from SITA Australia Pty Ltd for a landfill site on Allawuna farm, 18 kilometres west of York,  was prepared by the York Shire's manager of planning services, Jacky Jurmann and voted on at a special meeting of the Council on March 31.

The Council's endorsement of the recommendation to refuse the development application means that opposition to the proposed development led by the Avon Valley Ratepayers Association has cleared its first hurdle.

In the report Ms Jurmann addressed a number of complex issues including provisions of York Town Planning Scheme,  input from several public meetings, submissions from the public and 17 government agencies as well as the details contained in the lengthy and detailed development application. There were 212 submissions from groups and individuals during the consultation period. All but one were against the proposed development.

The report gave 16 reasons the DAP should refuse the application. They focused on areas including likely impact on the future expansion and sustainability of broad-acre agriculture and that it was not a permitted use in the General Agricultural zone under the York Town Planning Scheme; impact on the environment, natural resources and amenity of surrounding areas; inconsistency with the principles of sustainable development contained in State Planning Policy; lack of benefit to the district; the ad-hoc nature of the application and its clash with orderly planning and substantial community opposition to the proposal.

York Shire CEO, Ray Hooper, said that because of the cost of the project, its future would be decided by the Wheatbelt Joint Development Assessment Panel. The application and recommendation from the York Shire Council would be considered by the DAP at a meeting in York on April 14, he said.

"If things are clear cut the DAP could reach a quick decision, otherwise it could be  some time before there was a decision. "Should the panel's decision be  to say 'no'  to the development or the conditions imposed are considered too harsh, SITA would have 28 days to lodge an appeal with the State Administrative Tribunal," Mr Hooper said.

The Development Assessment Panel comprises three independent members and two representatives from the Shire of York. They are town planning consultant and chair of the panel, David Gray; planner with experience in local planning strategies, Robert Fenn, an architect and planner and former elected member of the Stirling City Council, Terence Tyzack. The York Shire representatives are the president, Cr Matthew Reid and deputy president, Cr Mark Duperouzel.

Lindsay McNeill

ABOVE: York Shire Councillors prepare to vote on the planning application from SITA at a special Council meeting on March 31 attended by more than 60 members of the community.