Call made to reject Mt Cotton incinerator power plant

POWER PLANT PROPOSAL: Cleveland Power wants to produce electricity from this site, using chicken litter from surrounding poultry operations.
POWER PLANT PROPOSAL: Cleveland Power wants to produce electricity from this site, using chicken litter from surrounding poultry operations.

A RESIDENT has called on city councillors to reject a development application for a Mt Cotton incinerator power plant which is to be fired by chicken litter.

Redland Bay resident Junita Grosvenor said the proposed plant on Hill View Road, Mt Cotton, was close to schools, homes and in a rapidly growing area.

She said promoters Cleveland Power were asking for an extension to get the plant built and this should not be allowed as they had already had two extensions over five years.

A Redland City Council spokesperson said council received an application late last year from applicant Cleveland Power, requesting a 22-month extension.

This application was expected to be decided at a council meeting on Wednesday, March 22.

It was originally due to be decided on December 13 last year but the applicant requested a decision be delayed while alternative design options were considered.

“They have since advised council they don't intend altering the plant's design from the original approval,’’ he said. “If this extension is agreed by council it will be the third extension to the original approval, which was granted by the court in November 2007.’’

Ms Grosvenor said she wanted to know why the project had not been rejected 

“Why are they being given so much leeway?’’ she said.

PROPOSAL: Aerial view of Cleveland Power's Mt Cotton site.

PROPOSAL: Aerial view of Cleveland Power's Mt Cotton site.

Cleveland Power’s David Bray said the extension was needed to get funding and engineering issues in place.

The project had been delayed primarily by federal government rule changes relating to renewable energy targets.

“Now with the gas and energy crisis coming along they’ve wanted to change the rules again,’’ he said. 

“We’re evaluating tenders and will select a contractor over the next month or so.

“We’ll be generating green energy using a waste product at a time when energy prices are going up.’’

Mr Bray said the project would burn about 70,000 tonnes of chicken litter a year, using safe technology that had been in use around the world for two decades.

No firm start-up date had been set.

Ms Grosvenor said it was inappropriate to build such a plant in an area with an expanding residential population.

She said Redland councillors should state where they stood on the issue and residents should email councillors, asking them for their position.

Cr Julie Talty did not respond to questions about where she stood on the issue, whether residents’ fears were reasonable or if the proponent been given too much leeway on extensions.

She said she had written to residents as the matter had progressed and council had provided information about the process.

“I do acknowledge that there will be new residents who may be unaware of the project and its long history and while there may not be a legal imperative to require formal consultation, I believe it is essential the applicant makes all the relevant information easily and readily available for residents to understand the proposal, ask questions and make informed deliberation about it.’’

Cr Talty and Cleveland Power will be at the Mount Cotton Community Park on Saturday from 1pm to 3pm to talk to residents.

“Although the court has approved the application, I will continue to represent residents interests by doing all I can to keep them informed,’’ Cr Talty said.