Magnetic Island North Queensland
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July 24th 2009
“Mitre 11” will end unless we lobby TCC

The Picnic Bay tip is almost full The Magnetic Island landfill tip at Picnic Bay, affectionately known to locals as "Mitre 11", because of the informal recycling that has occurred there as residents drop off and collect other people's "rubbish", will effectively end, as a local source of recycled materials next year, unless residents who want to retain the "Mitre 11" capability make their thoughts known to Council.

A state-of-the-art waste transfer station to transport all refuse off Magnetic Island will be due for completion in late 2010, replacing the near-capacity Picnic Bay landfill.

Council's Environment and Sustainability Committee Chair, Cr Vern Veitch, told Magnetic Times, “The main thing that will change is that people will dump their stuff into big bins rather than onto the ground.”

When asked whether Council had considered allowing a recycling business to set up at the site as part of the changes, Cr Veitch said that he wasn't sure if TCC waste experts had considered this but agreed that, with the new station, it was, "much harder to put things aside that others could pull out."

Kerbside recycling of ordinary household items has been in operation on Magnetic for several years. This collection is taken directly to Townsville for sorting.

As for the many larger items of timber, furiture and metal items which are not part of kerbside recycling, Cr Veitch advised that, "Residents need to make their thoughts known to either Cr Trevor Roberts (Magnetic Island's Councillor) or myself and I will feed it into the system and hopefully make it part of the process."

Whatever solution might be sought, according to Cr Veitch, Council would not accept it if it was to lead to extra work and expense for Council staff.

Council has allocated $1.5 million this financial year for the design and construction of the waste station on the island.

Many Islanders have expressed annoyance that, under the previous Council administration, developers were able avoid taking their bulky building waste to Townsville and used the Picnic Bay landfill for some of the Island's largest projects – subsequently speeding up the process by which the tip has been filled.

Cr Veitch, however, advised that the new transfer facility would not cause an increase in tip charges.

The new facility will provide all-weather access for residents to drop off waste into a bin system for transport to the mainland for disposal.

Cr Veitch said that building products were already recycled at a profit at the Stuart Landfill. These sales help cover most of the labour costs at the landfill.

Note to international readers: "Mitre 11" is a reference to Mitre 10, a large Australian hardware chain.

Story & photo: George Hirst

To add your comment,
or read those of others, see below

“Mitre 11” will end unless we lobby TCC
Wendy Tubman
July 24th 2009
In a truly remarkable example of serendipitous timing, MINCA (Magnetic Island Nature Care Association) - on the suggestion of MINCA member Paul Groves – only last week applied to establish a branch of 'Freecycle' on the island. Under the system, a stand-alone, supported, website would be available for people wanting to notify others of items that they no longer needed and were prepared to give away free-of-charge. In the past people have 'junked' items that others would have been glad to use 'if only they'd known'. Magnetic Times will be among the first to know if MINCA's application is accepted! (And if it isn't, MINCA will try and come up with an alternative so that potential treasures can recycle freely and easily within the community and so minimize the need for landfill and maximize the use of items.)
George Hirst
July 24th 2009
Of course anybody wishing to "freecycle" their items can just as easily email Magnetic Times with the info to go into the "For Free" section of the classifieds. And of course those ads are free to place and have been since 2002.
George Hirst Ed.
Hoyt Drake
July 24th 2009
TO:- Cr Vern Veitch and To Cr Trevor Roberts :

Please continue to allow the "Mitre - 11" fossicking of recyclable items, from the Magnetic Island Transfer-Station!

Cordially, Rev. T. Hoyt Drake
Sooning St, Nelly Bay
July 25th 2009
Freecycling sounds like a great idea and should be pursued - particularly as a way to get the fossicking done before stuff gets to the dump. If it's going to cost $1.5m just to set up the transfer station, imagine the cost to make it safe for fossicking.
We all know that a transfer station can't operate efficiently if people want to be able to pull stuff back out of shipping bins after it has been stacked in there. It would be completely unsafe, untidy and expensive to manage and monitor.
A separate issue is the possibility of scavenging metal or paper or concrete waste for commercial recycling as scrap metal, clean fill or the like. This is not a 'Mitre 11' issue and should not be confused with one.
Pursue the freecycling I reckon and keep the industrial process behind a safety fence.
Barbara Gibbs
July 27th 2009
Well done Paul! This was my first thought when I saw the huge pile of rubbish at Picnic Bay 12 months ago. Glad you are on track and getting it together. There is a site in Brisbane called which does the same thing, and if you wish to sell it is also possible...except for commercial businesses. Our two biggest problems on this earth are population growth and the exponential growth of rubbish that they accumulate/create. Get stuck into the recycling and be more concientious when you purchase from the mainland in the first instance...remember we are on an island, not in the city and everything we do on the terra firma eventually has an impact on the oceans and our future food source...except for the herbivores of course.(:

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