A disused quarry will be restored to national park standards while helping to tackle Perth's used tyre disposal problems, in a plan announced today by Environment Minister Jim McGinty and Transport Minister Pam Beggs.
The Chris Hill quarry at Toodyay was used by Westrail to provide railway ballast, but has been closed for ten years.
The Ministers said that Westrail was now concerned that untreated water which collected in the quarry was a potential health hazard and that unstable ledges also posed a threat to visitors.
Meanwhile, the problem of how to dispose of Perth's used tyres had reached a crisis point, with stockpiles accumulating in the metropolitan area because of a shortage of suitable landfill space.
"The quarry will be filled with alternate layers of used tyres and clean fill - with the top 10 metres of fill containing no tyres," Mrs Beggs said.
"It will address two problems at once, through a carefully managed plan to rehabilitate the quarry, and provide enough landfill space for the city's tyre disposal for about seven years.
"This will give us breathing space to develop and implement more appropriate methods of reuse, recycling or reclamation of used tyres."
Mr McGinty said the end result would be the return of the quarry to bushland and its eventual inclusion in the adjoining Avon Valley National Park.
"Local residents have been consulted and there have been no objections to the plan which also has the support of the relevant Government agencies including the Environmental Protection Authority and the Department of Conservation and Land Management," he said.
"The plan will also prevent the danger and environmental damage caused by fires in stockpiles of tyres as happened at Bindoon two years ago, when more than 500,000 tyres caught alight.
"We cannot risk another fire like this - which has the potential to pump tonnes of toxic gas into the atmosphere and release other toxic materials into the ground and waterways.
"However, while the quarry provides a respite, the long-term solution to the tyre disposal problem depends on the development of appropriate technologies.
"Tyres could be processed into fuel, or become the raw material for manufactured products."
The Department of State Development has called for expressions of interest from Western Australian companies to process or dispose of tyres, and Government assistance has been offered for the establishment of new industry to deal with the problem.