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Tom Ekin's statement on the proposed Residual Waste Treatment plant

June 17, 2009 4:30 PM

Alliance Party Councillor and former Lord Mayor Tom Ekin has published a briefing stating the case for locating the Residual Waste Treatment plant on the North Foreshore. He stated the site was ideal and of community benefit, and noted that failure to deliver the plant would result in significant cost to the Belfast ratepayer including, potentially, necessitating the closure of facilities such as the Waterfront Hall.

ENDS

NOTE: The Statement reads:

Residual Waste Treatment

The arguments in favour of two plants being on the North Foreshore are irrefutable, on environmental, location and financial grounds.

Environmental grounds include:

over 400 of these plants exist in Continental Europe - some in the heart of major cities such as Paris; and

the best recyclers in Europe also have the highest number of Energy-from-Waste plants.

The location, on the North Foreshore, is ideal because:

the land is available and is targeted for economic development primarily for the growth area of Environmental businesses;

the land itself is recycled;

minimal additional roads and rail links have to be built;

the Mechanical Biological Treatment plant makes the fuel for the EFW, why not have them side by side and reduce transportation;

the additional costs to Belfast ratepayers of £2m per year would be incurred if the plant was elsewhere;

the sale of land would produce about £20m which would be used to part fund the development plans for Belfast , North South, East and West , which are held up due to lack of funds;

Belfast would gain by a contribution to rates of about £400 000 per year;

Belfast could gain Community benefit from the developer to develop projects specifically for the area - by way of a capital sum and an annual sum; and

a plant site would act as a "Kick Starter" for the economic regeneration of the area.

The financial cost would include:

locating the plant elsewhere in the city would still cost the Belfast ratepayer around £3m; and

failure to meet the residual Waste Treatment Goals would cost Belfast between £6m and £7m per year - to be met by the ratepayer, which may include:

raise rates by nearly 6% per year;

close Belfast Zoo, Waterfront Hall and Ulster Hall and stop all public events;

close Grove Wellbeing Centre and Falls Swimming Pool and 4 other Leisure Centres; and

close all community centres with other cuts to community funding.

Questions for those opposed would include:

Why is it that the main objectors to this project have not taken the opportunities to visit existing plants?

Why are the objectors not trying to see what is the best way of spending the £20m capital receipt for the benefit of Belfast?

Do they not see the value of using this project to create good jobs for locals?

How we can use this to Kick Start the Eco development of the North Foreshore for the benefit of those who live in the area in particular?

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