The Greens have added their voice to residents' concerns about a proposed non-recyclable plastics processing plant planned for Tuggeranong, saying consultation has been inadequate and there remain serious concerns about public and environmental safety.
The company, Foy, which wants to process 200 tonnes of plastic waste a day into fuels at Hume says residents in nearby Tuggeranong won't be able to smell or hear the workings of the factory.
Sulphur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen and carbon monoxide are listed as possible emissions but they would be "well below the industry standard" and, if emissions exceed the established parameters, the plant would be shut down, according to a draft Environmental Impact Statement.
But ACT Greens candidate Michael Mazengarb said residents of Fadden, MacArthur, Chisholm and Gilmore deserved to know what would happen to ash from the site, and any risks the plant might pose to their health.
"The community was given only four weeks to consider this large, potentially hazardous project and the ACT Greens believe that more time is needed for the community to have a fair say about whether it should go ahead," Mr Mazengarb said.
Gilmore resident Reg Philp, 74, said any level of emission was worrying to him and his neighbours, who have submitted a response to the draft EIS.
"What we're being asked to do is to take the assurances of the company, but that's not good enough for me," Mr Philp said. He said his neighbours did not have an issue with the plant per se but believed it was too close to suburbs.
"They've got a product to sell and it's a good product, but it's in the wrong place."
The draft EIS says there is a very high risk of a plant-based fire, and high risk of the plant sparking a bushfire. These are risks the company says it will mitigate.
The plant will operate 24 hours a day, with trucks using the site until 10pm. The proponents believe this is "not unreasonable in the context of an existing industrial park".
Liberal MLA for Brindabella Andrew Wall recently visited the company's other plant on the Central Coast.
FOY Group managing director Stuart Clark said he believed Mr Wall's fears about the proposed Hume plant had been allayed after the visit.
"I asked him, as a community person, if he was comfortable living near the plant and he said, 'Yes'," Mr Clark said.
However, when asked if this was the case, Mr Wall responded: "Seeing the [Cental Coast] plant in operation allayed some concerns about the size and impact of such a facility, however, the proposal for Hume is considerably larger and the current community consultation process is still under way.
"Many residents are still concerned about the emissions generated through the project and as a local member I'm listening to everyone involved," he said.
The draft EIS said any "fugitive odour and emissions will be captured via hooding and ducting to be destroyed in the cyclone combustor prior to being released to atmosphere". There would also be "continous emission monitoring".
Mr Clark said no heavy metals or halogens would be used in the fuel source. The draft EIS had been asked to model for those kinds of fuels but that did not mean they would be used, he said.
"I think that's part of the confusion," he said. "We have strict restrictions on what plastics we can accept and what chemicals will go into the system. We're not going to be putting harmful plastics into the system to start with."
The plastics-to-fuel plant is proposed for land to the south-west of a block where a gas-fired power station and data centre was proposed in 2007. Community opposition meant it never went ahead.
Mr Clark said he was not aware of that development or the history of the area when the company bought the land for the plastics facility, but had since been made more than aware at a consultation meeting with residents. He understood residents' wariness and frustration but maintained the company wanted to be "a good neighbour".