Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Mulch Shed to close-Glenhuntly Park

At last Tuesday nights meeting Council voted to close the mulch facilty at Glenhuntly Park. Item 9.7 dealt with this issue - an independent consultant had been engaged in Nov 2010 to investigate potential health risks and operating procedures at the site in Neerim rd and prepare a report-

This report made the following recommendations -
1) Prevent large accumulation or build-up of mulch material at the site, (i.e. contain as is reasonably practicable the mulch stockpile within the confines of the current storage area. If necessary stockpile the material at a Council deport and truck it to the Neerim Road facility as required.
2) Provide training, instructions, information and appropriate personal protective equipment to Council employees likely to come in contact with this material.
3) The personal protective equipment that is recommended for Council employees handling the mulch material is disposal dust mask (P2), gloves and washing of hands after use.
4) Install a localized fine mist spray system that can be activated, with a push button to dampen dust, for members of the public, to use when collecting mulch.
5) Provide warning signage and flyers in waterproof container with a warning notice that mulch users can take away for reference purposes.
6) Personal protective equipment is also recommended for members of the public, but this is a recommendation that should be communicated through signage at the site as per the warnings that appear on commercially available products -

The mulch facilty is very close to a childrens playground and also Glen Eira secondary school-Ultimately I felt whilst acknowledging that the risk of bacterial infection was low it was still unacceptable and the present facilty was in a very poor location-as such I was happy to support Cr. Penhalluriack's motion to close the facilty.


  1. This is really interesting news. You would have to wonder why the dump was built there in the first place. Was in-depth report done before it was built in Glen Huntly park.

    Will it now be moved to some other place, most likely a park?

    You would have to say that this has been a very expensive folly.

  2. Agree anonymous this has been an unfortunate venture- The recent council decision means the site and service is now closed and won't re-open elsewhere.

  3. Is it true that with the closure of the mulch shed, the only other place we can buy mulch at is Cr. Penhalluriack's hardware store? Surely this raises some questions regarding a conflict of interest, don't you think?

  4. the councillor concerned stated that he had no conflict of interest in determining this matter.

  5. Is self assessment the normal procedure?

  6. its not up to the Councillor to decide whether its a conflict of interest , it up to the public , his garden supplies site is the closest place selling the mulch , he cannot deny he will profit from this decision that he strongly advocated....

  7. As I understand it is upto councillors themselves to make a judgement accordingly in the determination of a conflict-of-interest.

  8. This is indicative of the Billion dollar garden supply industry that is
    threatened by small common sense local initiatives such as your local
    free mulch facility.

    I was in Sydney two months ago trying to drum up support for MulchNet
    and one local government guy said to me that the green waste recycling
    centres must hate what I am doing, and he is right. I have been hassled
    for years by these large corporations.

    One Tree Contractor in the Gippsland area told me that his local council
    wouldn't use his mulch because of potential "Pest & Disease" issues
    whilst the local garden supply centre was bringing in supply's from Mt
    Gambia in SA. What nonsense!

  9. If individuals are aware in advance of a possible conflict of interest on a matter
    but are in doubt, they are encouraged to seek legal or other appropriate advice.
    In some circumstances, it may be appropriate for council to obtain legal advice
    on the person’s behalf. The Code recognises that the existence of personal
    interests does not automatically mean there is a conflict of interest. However,
    what is important is how the conflict is dealt with and public perceptions of its

  10. Really? You may want to look at this

    "The Local Government Act sets out requirements for the conduct of councillors, obliging them to declare certain interests and prohibiting them from voting on matters in which they have a conflict of interest, as defined under this Act"

  11. How as a greens Councillor can you possibility endorse closing a green facility ? what shade of green are you ? , is this green policy ?

  12. Anon- as i stated in the above posting i judged the health concerns and risks asssociated with the service and especially of the site being virtually next to a childrens playground and opposite a school to be higher than the associated benefits of the service- i stand by this judgement

  13. Compliance with AS4454-2003, better training and handling, implementation of the consultants report are probably prerequisites for operating such a facility, but it was still a problematic location. These should have been implemented from the outset. But who in the community would accept unlimited Joint Liability for the operation, should a serious adverse health outcome be linked to it? I won't dismiss out of hand the risks associated with airborn particles and pathogens. The consultants report (which isn't public) very carefully didn't say the facility was safe, but did identify practices that they believed would reduce risk. Conflict of Interest claims shouldn't be used to silence people. A defense is LGA S77A(4) and (5). The nearest hardware store from the subject site selling mulch is probably the one in Normanby Rd.

  14. Victorian health dept’s Stuart Adcock said “there is no evidence to suggest that wood chips have ever been the source of legionella disease .....why did you ignore this advice ?

  15. What expert evidence did you base this decision on as i have read the consultants report and health dept advice it doesn't mention risks of being near a playground..opposite school..

  16. I am very disturbed by the closure of the mulching facility. I would like to see the expert report relied upon by council. I would be surprised if the risk of airborne infection is real at all and certainly it would be less than the definite risk of airborne pollution eg car exhaust- does that mean that Council has to close roads which run next to schools or playgrounds? Surely anybody who spends an afternoon in the garden at home laying mulch would be just as much at risk as the schoolkids at GEC?

  17. Furthermore does the Council still plan to lay mulch in the public spaces of Glen Eira? If so, does the mulch need to be fenced off in case a dog or child walks through it and potentially catches an "airborne infection"? This really seems too silly to contemplate.

  18. Neil my children go to a local school in Glen Eira where the playground is covered in mulch underfoot , with kids using the playground the airborne particles are constantly being released should i be worried ????

  19. In response to the many comments on the mulch shed i will post a reponse later today Tues

  20. Thanks everyone for your comments on this item.
    I view the facilty as very different to common usage in a home garden or at a school and doesnt offer equal comparison.
    There were frequently large piles many metres high outside the covering that frequently required bobcats or such to move and rearrange-in fact the whole facilty was to be constantly turned over.
    The color photo reproduced in the glen eira debates blogsite clearly shows the clouds of dust created -The six recommendations in the consultants report as identified in the above posting indicate the seriousnes of the situation and location-
    If this much signage is needed and protective clothing advised for users and workers alike where does this leave the kids twenty metres away?
    Yes there were many good environment aspects of the service-but the location I feel could not be justified for this type of facility and no other site was identified as suitable.

    As I understand Council will still mulch public parks using an out of municipality storage facilty

  21. Why then didn't you then advocate changing the location rather than closure ?
    You keep talking about close by playground.. twenty meters etc this isn't in the consultants report where do you get this concern from ?

  22. Anom- no suitable sites could be identified to relocate the service/facilty - I certainly made enquiries on this-

  23. Please support the reinstatement of the mulch pile

  24. was still unacceptable and the present facilty was in a very poor location-as such I was happy to support Cr. Penhalluriack's motion to close the facility.....
    Council decision to reinstate this , the ombudsman report and support for Cr Penhalluriack and your lack of fight for this green facility makes light of your "green" credentials ... please acknoelege you where wrong on this !~!