Trucks in, pipes on hold as CBD waste system delayed
Garbage trucks and wheelie bins are likely to be used in the Maroochydore city centre due to delays to the commissioning of the Australian-first $21 million automated waste collection system.
The 53-hectare city centre was touted to be the first in Australia to have automated waste collection, where waste would be sucked from commercial buildings and apartments at up to 70km/h through a 6.5km system of underground vacuum pipes.
The first pipes were installed in June 2017 and at the time acting mayor Tim Dwyer said "workers and residents in the new CBD will never have to walk past rows of wheelie bins or be woken early by noisy garbage trucks".
A recent Sunshine Coast Council quarterly progress report revealed delays were possible to the commissioning of the system due to COVID-19.
It also said forecast land sales for the project by Sunshine Coast Council subsidiary SunCentral were not reached during 2019-20.
The delays are likely to affect developer Evans Long's Foundation Place commercial building, the first to open at the city centre.
A Sunshine Coast Council spokesman said construction was on time and on budget, but that COVID-19 travel restrictions were likely to delay the commissioning of it.
"Subsequently, the international technical experts with detailed system knowledge are unable to come to Australia at this time and this may delay the commissioning of the automated waste collection system," the spokesman said.
He said remote commissioning was not suitable.
"If a contingency plan is necessary, conventional waste collection services will be provided until the service is commissioned," the spokesman said.
The council would not confirm how long the contingency plan would need to be used, or how much it would cost.
Evans Long director Dirk Long said he was aware of the delay to the commissioning of the system, which was manufactured and designed by Korean company Envac.
Mr Long said construction on Foundation Place, an eight-storey 4000 sqm commercial building, was on track for completion in late September.
He said they were always prepared to cater for garbage trucks.
"We geared up to be able to cater for both scenarios … we don't have a final date for when (the system) will be commissioned," Mr Long said.
"At the end of the day the building can manage in the interim … when you get the first cab off the rank you do expect a few little teething problems or delays."
Mr Long said a swag of tenants would be ready to move in to the 16 office spaces from October.
He said there were still three or four office spaces to be leased.
"What we've been surprised about is the take-up during COVID, we've had six transactions during COVID," Mr Long said.
The office building will feature professional services including accountants, lawyers and construction firms.
He said tenants were already Sunshine Coast-based businesses, while others would be new names for the region.