Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Ballina Council and sand miner behaving badly?

Echo NetDaily reported on 27 March 2017 that McGeary Bros Pty Ltd plan to extend its quarry operations:

Residents of Lennox Head and the Ballina Greens are opposing a proposal to create a new 3.2 million tonne sand mine on Newrybar Swamp Road, saying an existing mine in the area is already exceeding its extraction approvals and creating a blight on the coastal landscape.

The No Sand Mine for Lennox group said that following its investigation of the existing mine, Ballina Shire Council admitted that despite quarterly statements being submitted to the council clearly outlining the over extraction, council have not contacted the miners to discuss their over extraction, nor imposed any restrictions or fines.

Newrybar resident and Greens member Nathan questioned if the council was unwilling or unable to control the extraction rates of the existing mine, how would it manage the much larger site.

‘We would like to question whether council understands or is monitoring the impact on the very sensitive Newrybar Swamp and North Creek. The over extraction of 115,000 tonnes of material means that there has been about 115 million litres of water displaced,’ he told Echonetdaily.

‘The new mine is proposing a much, much larger sand mine for that same area,’ he added.

‘Locals are already concerned about the number of trucks on the road, whether environmental concerns are being monitored correctly as acid sulphate soil issues, water runoff, habitat loss and agricultural land loss.

‘Then there are the trucks, the noise, the damage to local infrastructure, safety and the fact the tab for any damage will have to be picked up by ratepayers.

‘So that’s what motivated us to have a bit of a look into it and check what’s happening with the current mine,’ he said.

Lennox Head resident and group spokesperson Amelia Hicks said that on council’s statements the group estimates ‘there have been 18,000 extra truck movements’ east and west on Ross Lane in 2016 ‘which equates to 62 additional truck movements per day’.

The Lennox Wave, 29 November 2016:

According to Planners North spokesperson Steve Connelly, ‘We submitted a basic application to the Department of Planning and Environment seeking Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs).

The Secretary of the Department consulted all relevant government departments then issued us with a very comprehensive set of Environmental Assessment Requirements. These SEARs must be addressed as part of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Development.

We are preparing the EIS, in association with an expert team of environmental, design and engineering consultants. The EIS must include comprehensive environmental management and monitoring measures.

That EIS, when it is completed, will be lodged with the with Council. The EIS will be publicly exhibited for at least 30 days. During this time, submissions will be invited from the public and Council consults with all the government agencies.’

As part of the EIS issues of soil, water, noise, biodiversity, transport, heritage, waste, public safety, visual impact, social and economic factors, and rehabilitation will all be addressed.

Meanwhile, Amelia Hicks is urging residents to stay alert and ready to take action on this issue. If you would like more information on the planned mine or would like to get involved you can contact her on amelia.hicks@me.com.

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