THE new Great Lakes recycling plant is almost complete. The building, known as the Tuncurry Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), was burnt to the ground on June 1 last year.
The facility is expected to be back up and running in April this year.
Great Lakes Council’s manager of waste, health and regulatory services John Cavanagh said, while the fire posed a challenge, it also offered a great opportunity for reflection and learning. He said the event highlighted the need to have plans in place to continue the services provided by major infrastructure in the case of a disaster.
When the fire completely gutted the facility, which services Great Lakes, Gloucester and Greater Taree City councils, normal recycling collections from households and businesses still had to be maintained.
There was an immediate need to find recycling centres within a reasonable distance of the Great Lakes and with the capability to take and process the collected recyclables.
Council’s contractor, JR Richards and Sons, secured services from the recycling facility at Port Macquarie Council and a private recycling plant at Somersby. Recycling from the Great Lakes has been sent to these facilities during the reconstruction of the MRF.
Mr Cavanagh said a new cardboard compactor began operating in Tuncurry just before Christmas, which allowed the council to keep up with the extra recycling over the silly season.
“Thankfully no one was hurt in the fire, and, amazingly, the situation was managed without incurring any disruption to services,” he said.