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Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Ill wind blows at Hilldene landfill

Residents fed up with their properties becoming de facto rubbish dumps.

CHALPAT SONTI February 13, 2013 4:53am

This rubbish has travelled about 500m from the Hilldene landfill at the back of the shot to the Popples Ln road reserve.


Drive along Popples Lane on or just after a windy day and chances are you’ll wonder if you’re slightly lost.

After all, the Hilldene landfill is supposed to be about 500m from the road, but you would be forgiven for thinking you were driving through it.

It was a long battle beforehand, but the landfill has caused an even longer one since it opened.

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Popples Lane residents had a site meeting with Cr Bill Melbourne recently to discuss problems with the Hilldene landfill, which can be seen in the background over Cr Melbourne's left shoulder.

They lost the initial battle in 2005 when the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal allowed the landfill to go ahead, with several conditions.

The landfill was supposed to be state of the art at the time, with no rubbish able to leave the site, which itself was supposed to be screened off.

But that hasn’t happened — residents have consistently picked up rubbish up to 3km away over the past seven years.

‘‘The amount of rubbish between 1500m to 2km away is just phenomenal,’’ resident Peter McQueen said.

‘‘The lamb paddocks are absolutely littered, and the lambs try to chew it up.’’

January and February were traditionally the worst months because of the amount of wind.

But there are also other issues, which residents say they expressed before the landfill was built.

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Peter Heywood said they had all come to pass.

‘‘The crows have taken over and chased all the native birds away,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s (landfill) too close to neighbouring properties, it’s an unprotected site built on top of the ground, you can only dig down 2m because you hit the water table and it’s a very windy area.

‘‘The council does something about (the rubbish) each year but it keeps coming back when it’s windy. They’re supposed to cover it completely at the end of each day but they don’t.’’

Residents — who say they would be happy if the landfill simply complied with the original VCAT conditions — contacted the Environmental Protection Authority but were told to await the outcome of discussions with Mitchell Shire Council first.

Mayor Bill Melbourne and council engineering and infrastructure director Jeff Saker met with residents at the site recently.

They promised to look into the matter and meet back later this month.

Local farmer John Clarke said it was ‘‘probably the most positive start point we’ve had since 2005’’.

‘‘Let’s hope something comes out of it this time.’’

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