Community Engagement

The EMRC has actively engaged with the community about the Resource Recovery Facility project since 2003, using a variety of methods including attitudinal surveys, public information sessions and workshops.

The purpose of the engagement since the beginning of the project has been to keep the community informed about the project and to invite community input on any aspects where there was an opportunity for community comment to influence project design and project decisions.

Even before the project began, the EMRC formed the Waste Management Community Reference Group (WMCRG), with members being mostly residents from within Perth's Eastern Region, as a forum for discussion and community input on the Resource Recovery Project and waste education services in general. The WMCRG contributed to the development of the wider community engagement process for the Resource Recovery Project.

The WMCRG meets quarterly and is still active in providing feedback to the EMRC.

All feedback obtained through the EMRC's extensive public consultation process has informed the project and will be considered in the final project decision about the ownership model and the technology. The EMRC is committed to engaging and involving the community in waste management issues.

Early Community Engagement Activities

During 2005 and 2006 the EMRC was researching options including technology types and contract models, the financial viability of the project, the staging of the project and siting options.

2005 and 2006 - Community Surveys

The EMRC undertook two community surveys, the first being a baseline survey to understand community views on whether the EMRC should take action to improve environmental management in the region.

Results from the survey:

  • 93% of respondents felt that improved environmental performance in waste management was at least 'Quite Important.'
  • Less greenhouse gases, more recycling, locating facilities away from houses and less landfill volumes were cited as the most important features of new waste management systems.
  • About 48% of respondents indicated a willingness to pay an extra $50 per year for better environmental outcomes.

Validation market research was conducted in May 2006 to validate the workshop results with the wider community.

2005 and 2006 - Information sessions and regional workshop

In July and August 2005, project information and feedback sessions were held in each Local Government Area within Perth's Eastern Region, to provide project information and to answer community questions.

These were followed by two regional workshops. The first, in October 2005, was attended by more than 100 participants. The workshop enabled community members to participate in the identification of potential sites for resource recovery facilities and to develop the criteria that would be used to assess the various options for resource recovery.

At the second workshop in February 2006 community members were invited to weight the criteria they had helped to develop, and recommended preferred resource recovery solutions.

Feedback from the workshops:

  • The four sites of Red Hill, Bayswater, Hazelmere and the Perth Airport were the preferred options based upon the community's criteria and weightings.
  • Biological technology options (including anaerobic digestion) were preferred, followed by gasification and combustion.

Project Communication

Project information was updated on the EMRC website as required and a waste management update column was published periodically in the local newspapers.

During 2007 and 2008 the RRF project required little in the way of community input. Information about the project continued to be updated on the website and through the R-Gang newsletters.

2009 Engagement Activity

At this time, the Resource Recovery Facility project was moving towards a tender process by issuing an Expression of Interest request. To support this, the next phase of community engagement was designed to gather community views about the site and technology options which will inform the planning decisions to be made by Council. No final decisions had been made on the location, technology or ownership model for the Resource Recovery Facility; and no spending commitments had been made by any of the EMRC's six member Councils.

The EMRC undertook significant community engagement activities in 2009.

Communication to Workshop Participants

The EMRC advised the participants from the workshops in 2005/2006 that the project was again moving forward.

Community Surveys and Focus Groups

The EMRC contracted an external market research company to undertake community research on two specific topics: the acceptability of technology options and the acceptability of what type of Resource Recovery Facility could go on what site.

The research involved telephone surveys and focus groups held between May and July 2009 with participants randomly drawn from across the EMRC's six member Council areas.

Relevant Documents:

Report - Resource Recovery Project - Summary of Community Attitudes to Resource Recovery Technologies - July 2009

Presentation - Resource Recovery Project - 2009 Community Attitudes Survey Presentation - August 2009

Fact Sheet - Resource Recovery Project - Community Research Results - September 2009

Resource Recovery Updates

Updates were published approximately every two months in local community papers.

Brochure

A comprehensive project brochure was distributed to 42,500 residences in Perth's Eastern Region in September 2009. Another 42,000 brochures were distributed throughout the region in November 2009. The brochure was also delivered to businesses in selected areas. The brochure (titled "Resource Recovery Update") provided greater detail on general project information. This information included the project's need, objective, benefits, site location, technology options, timeline and community engagement.

Briefings

Briefings on the Resource Recovery Project have been provided to the Red Hill Community Liaison Group on an ongoing basis since the group was formed in 2009.

The EMRC's six member Councils have been provided with periodic briefings including two in 2009. The first round of briefings was held in March, prior to the commencement of the Expression of Interest process. The second round was conducted during November and December 2009 after the council elections.

The EMRC offered presentations to groups across the region and responded wherever there was interest. Briefings were provided to the Gidgegannup Progress Association, Eastern Hills Progress and Ratepayers Group, Hazelmere Ratepayers Association, Hills Climate Action Group and the Swan Valley Ratepayers and Residents Group.

Displays

A week-long display was held at Midland Gate Shopping centre during its special "Green Week" event from 16-21 November 2009. A static display system was established at Mundaring Shopping Centre from 16-19 December 2009 and was manned each day for two hours. A media release was issued and advertisements were placed in local papers to publicise the displays at both Midland Gate and Mundaring Shopping Centres.

A manned display was erected at the Red Hill Open Day on 7 November 2009.

2010 Engagement Activity

During 2010 the EMRC was gathering information from acceptable tenderers from the Expression of Interest process to assist the financial assessment and in preparation for the environmental impact assessment. It was also a year of significant continued community engagement and formation of a Community Task Force.

Waste to Energy Technologies Forum

The EMRC held a forum at Ascot Place on 23 April 2010, with presentations on waste to energy technologies. The forum was presented by Professor Nickolas Themelis and Robin Davidov, two eminent practitioners, from the United States, in the area of waste to energy. This was an opportunity provided by their visit to Australia, hosted by the Waste Management Association of Australia.

Door Knocking in Red Hill

In July 2010, EMRC officers personally visited the residents living within 1km of the Red Hill Waste Management Facility. As these residents live closest to the site of the proposed facility, it was important to make sure they had good information about the project, had the opportunity to ask questions and knew where they could go for further information. Also, it was an opportunity to invite these residents to nominate for the Community Task Force. It was also important to determine if these residents had any issues with current operations at the landfill site.

A total of 118 residences were visited over a four week period with 25 interviews conducted. Nearly half of those residents interviewed stated that they did not believe the proposed facility would impact upon their lifestyle. Seven of those interviewed stated they were concerned there might be an impact and listed their concerns over possible emissions, pollution of rainwater, odours and property devaluation.

Community Task Force

In August 2010, the EMRC established a Community Task Force with members drawn from across the region. Their job was to develop a Community Partnership Agreement. The Community Partnership Agreement is intended to provide indicators through which the EMRC and the Resource Recovery Facility operator can benchmark their performance on agreed social, environmental and economic outcomes and report these back to the community. The Taskforce developed a draft Community Partnership Agreement in early 2011 and sought regional community comment on the draft for seven weeks during April and May 2011.

In parallel with the development of the Agreement, the Community Taskforce was also involved in providing comment on the draft tender evaluation criteria. These criteria were included in the community forum program (see below) which generated significant comment and the CTF used this feedback as guidance in commenting on the draft criteria.

For more information, visit the Community Task Force webpage.

Community Forum

A community forum on the EMRC's Resource Recovery Project was held at Rosehill Lodge in South Guildford on 18 September 2010 and was attended by approximately 60 community members. Feedback obtained at the forum was used in the development the Community Partnership Agreement, tender evaluation criteria and in guiding community education.

Relevant Documents:

Presentation - Resource Recovery Project Community Forum - 18 September 2010

Report on Community Forum - 18 September 2010

Other Community Engagement Activities

A project display was also held at Belmont Forum shopping centre in March 2010. Periodic Resource Recovery Update columns were published in community newspapers and presentations were provided to various community groups including the Swan Valley Residents and Ratepayers Association, the Gidgegannup Progress Association and a Red Hill Community Liaison Group meeting. Past updates can also be viewed on the Resource Recovery Facility Project Milestones page.

2011 Engagement Activity

During 2011 there were studies about the siting options for the Resource Recovery Facility at Red Hill and selection of consultants to conduct the various environmental studies.

Community Partnership Agreement Finalised

After regular meetings starting in August 2010, a draft Community Partnership Agreement was agreed by the Community Task Force in early 2011 and then advertised for public comment. Feedback from the community was incorporated in to the Agreement by the Community Task Force and the Agreement was endorsed by the EMRC Council on 18 August 2011. For more information, visit the Community Task Force webpage.

Community Talk on Technology Options for the Resource Recovery Facility

A community talk on anaerobic digestion technology was held at the EMRC's Ascot Place office on 24 June 2011 and was attended by approximately 40 members of the community.

The forum was addressed by visiting overseas consultant, Mr Gerald Tetchner of Enertech in the UK and Professor Dongke Zhang, Foundation Professor of Chemical Engineering and Inaugural Director of the Centre for Energy at the University of Western Australia. Details of the presentations are available below.

Copies of Presentations:

Gerald Tetchner - Presentation - 24 June 2011

Dongke Zhang - Presentation - 24 June 2011

Anaerobic Digestion Talk - Question and Answer Session - 24 June 2011

Other Activities

A project display was held at the Gidgegannup Agricultural Show. Periodic project updates were advertised in local papers and newsletters were distributed to libraries, councils and to mailboxes in close proximity to the Red Hill Waste Management Facility.

2012 Engagement Activity

During 2010, the EMRC prepared a Public Environmental Review report which the Environmental Protection Authority approved for release for public comment. The Public Environmental Review preparation was preceded by environmental studies at Red Hill on odour impact, noise assessment and a backgrounder air quality study over several months.

Public Environmental Review released for public comment

The Public Environmental Review was released by the Environmental Protection Authority for an eight-week public comment period (23 July 2012 to 17 September 2012). During that time, the EMRC held two community information sessions about the Public Environmental Review's results and the submission process in Gidgegannup and Mundaring. The Review was widely distributed to government agencies, councils and community organisations. It was also displayed in local and state libraries. Newsletters were sent to libraries, councils and to the local community close to the Red Hill Waste Management Facility, to encourage community members to review the document. Details on the Public Environmental Review and the Environmental Protection Authority's Report and Recommendations are available at http://www.emrc.org.au/per.html

A Frequently Asked Question webpage was launched on the EMRC website in March 2012. The FAQ page features commonly asked questions and also enables community members to submit their own questions.

An open invitation for the EMRC to visit community groups to speak about the resource recovery project was raised and still remains.

2013 - 2015 Engagement Activity

The project received environmental approval in mid 2014. The EMRC resolved to stop the expression of interest process because the time period elapsed, changes in the market and the potential uncertainties from the local government reform process which is underway.

Towards the end of 2015, Council briefings were undertaken with each member Council to discuss the technology and ownership options. The member Councils and the EMRC have agreed to proceed to tender.

2016 Engagement Activity

Preparations are proceeding on the tender process for the tender to be released mid-year.

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