Soil dumped illegally

The Warrandyte Diary, July 2014

Manningham Council is investigating the illegal dumping of soil at the site of a proposed service station in Warrandyte.

Earlier last month a Yarra St resident notice somebody had dumped three piles of soil overnight at 1-5 Yarra St, which is owned by Platinum King Management.

In the following weeks, several more piles of soil were dumped and spread by a bobcat or excavator outside of normal business hours.

Council’s planning investigations unit began investigating the soil dumping last month and estimated about eight to 10 medium sized truck loads of soil had been dumped and spread without a permit, before someone deposited another three piles overnight on June 26.

Although initially uncertain who was responsible for dumping the soil, Manningham Council now has photographs taken by a local resident which clearly show a truck going into the site before dumping another pile of soil on the morning of June 27.

The resident who took the photos and wished to remain anonymous spoke to the Diary.

“It was in the morning that we noticed another three piles had been dumped overnight. Then I saw a truck coming back and it dumped another pile of soil near the other three piles so I took photos and went and spoke to the driver. He said ‘I work for [the owner] and he told me to dump it here, so I’m just doing what I’ve been told to do.’ He even gave me the owner’s phone number,” the resident said.

“I’m not against development in Warrandyte, so long as it’s appropriate. But one of my concerns about this particular proposal is that the petrol station would be right across from the footy oval, which is a place of last resort in a bushfire emergency. I’m sure a lot of people would be concerned about the potential dangers of that.”

Another resident said: “There’s also the issue of we don’t know where the soil is coming from or if it’s contaminated. We simply don’t know yet. If that’s the case, contaminated soil could wash into the Yarra River at anytime.”

The service station proposal for the site includes 13 car parking spaces, six fuel pumps and a 250 metre square convenience store, which would remain open 24 hours a day.

Council is still waiting on a report on the proposed service station before voting.

Manningham council chief executive, Joe Carbone, says council had sent the owner of the Yarra St site a letter, directing him to remove the soil from the site three days before the latest soil dumping incident.

“Council is continuing to investigate the matter with the aim of having the non-permitted soil removed from the land. Council is now in possession of information and photographs relating to this soil dumping and this will be subject to investigation and appropriate action as it progresses,” Mr Carbone said.

The Diary has repeatedly contacted the owner of the site and the architect of the proposed service station over the past few months but requests for comments have gone unanswered.

Again, the Diary contacted the owner and Axiom Architects for comment about the latest incident but didn’t receive a response.

At the time the paper went to print, the illegally dumped soil still remained at the site.

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Brianna Piazza

Journalist and travel writer.