Chemical storage anger

Brooklyn Residents Action Group's Laurie Bell and Bert Boere rally with concerned community members. Photo: Joe Mastroianni 210265_01

Goya Dmytryshchak

Toxic chemicals are being stored without a permit just 420 metres from Brooklyn homes, causing an outcry from surrounding residents.

A retrospective planning permit application has been lodged by FBT Transwest with Brimbank council for the storage of dangerous goods at 6/600 Geelong Road, Brooklyn.

Brooklyn and surrounding residents, along with Hobsons Bay council, say the operation should be immediately shut down as it placed people “at great risk”.

Hobsons Bay deputy mayor Sandra Wilson told this week’s council meeting that a formal objection would be lodged against the application.

“We’ve had the storage of dangerous and hazardous chemicals within the proximity of a local community that undergoes so much impost from that Brooklyn industrial site,” she said.

“For this to happen on our watch and indeed the watch of Brimbank council is really disappointing.”

The site is also about 120 metres from the Federation Trail bike and walking path and 750 metres from Annunciation Primary School.

Brooklyn Residents Action Group (BRAG) president Bert Boere said applying for a permit now was like closing the barn door after the horse had bolted.

“From [the site] to the nearest houses on the other side of Geelong is only a matter of a few hundred metres,” he said

“If it is combustible or if there is a situation, it’s just going to bring it over the residential area and it’s too close. It’s just too close.”

Altona North’s Geoff Mitchelmore, a former industrial chemist and also a member of BRAG, said Brimbank council had known of the operation since at least mid last year when the application was lodged.

“It is now June and it is still operating and they haven’t got a planning permit,” he said.

“We just don’t understand how they can be allowed to operate if they haven’t got a planning permit – it’s as simple as that.”

Brimbank’s city development director Kelvin Walsh said it was the council’s understanding that the amount of chemicals being stored on the site at present were “well below the amounts for which the application seeks approval”.

“The occupier of the site has been given the opportunity to apply for planning permission now that we are aware of the current use,” Mr Walsh said. “If the application is refused, council will pursue enforcement action to bring the site into compliance with current approvals.”

The applicant was contacted for comment.