Man­ager sup­ports move

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

The man­ager of one of the Wim­mera’s largest com­mer­cial work­forces has de­scribed a de­ci­sion to re­move a haz­ardous stock­pile of tyres in Stawell as a ‘huge’ re­lief.

Frew­stal ab­ba­toirs gen­eral man­ager Greg Ni­cholls said the busi­ness wel­comed and ap­plauded the En­vi­ron­ment Pro­tec­tion Author­ity Vic­to­ria’s move to clean up the Saleyards Road site.

“Not just for us, but Stawell and the re­gion,” he said.

“If it ever caught fire it would have shut us down, and that would have meant 450 jobs gone. But it would have also taken down the whole town.

“No one had re­ally thought about the broad con­se­quences of what a ma­jor fire there might mean.

“What would the pol­lu­tion have done to all the creeks and en­vi­ron­ment around the town? And what would it have meant for the Grampians?

“The Western High­way would have been closed for a month and there might have been a need to evac­u­ate Stawell.

“There would have been mas­sive dam­age to the town.

“The EPA de­ci­sion to move the tyres is the best news we’ve had for a while – a huge re­lief. Our cus­tomers are re­lieved as well.”

The Frew­stal works, a multi-mil­lion-dol­lar en­ter­prise sell­ing meat to an ex­ten­sive do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional mar­ket, helps un­der­pin the Stawell econ­omy.

It is less than a kilo­me­tre north-east of the tyre dump.

If the dump had ever caught fire at the same time as pre­vail­ing south-westerly weather con­di­tions, the meat works would have been quickly and di­rectly in the path of toxic smoke.

“As the crow flies, it would be very close to our bound­ary,” Mr Ni­cholls said.

“You would be able to see smoke for miles and miles.

“Hope­fully what we’re see­ing now is a ma­jor dis­as­ter averted.

“We all thought when Mo­tor­way Tyres were there that the tyres would have a pur­pose, but noth­ing ever hap­pened and that started to worry ev­ery­one.”

Mr Ni­cholls said deep con­cern about the Stawell stock­pile gained mo­men­tum af­ter a Hazel­wood coal-mine fire in 2014 and then again last month af­ter an in­tense and acrid fire at a Coola­roo re­cy­cling cen­tre, north­east of Mel­bourne.

The EPA used pow­ers un­der the En­vi­ron­ment Pro­tec­tion Act to start re­mov­ing the stock­pile of tyres last week.

Ve­hi­cle tyres are made of com­pounds in­clud­ing car­bon, oil, ben­zene, toluene, rub­ber and sul­phur.

They are no­to­ri­ously hard to ex­tin­guish when on fire.

Large tyre fires have a rep­u­ta­tion of caus­ing sig­nif­i­cant air, wa­ter and land pol­lu­tion and con­tam­i­na­tion.

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