Community split over quarry plan
PASSIONS are running high in the Coondoo-Wolvi area as the community finds itself divided over a quarry plan which was recommended for conditional approval by Gympie Region councillors yesterday.
An angry delegation of about 12 residents living near the quarry attended yesterday’s council Planning and Development Committee meeting.
Meanwhile, older residents said the quarry has been a well accepted and very useful resource for the community for many years.
And councillors said its impact will be so slight that it does not even meet the threshold that would attract Mines Department attention.
A report recommended councillors override an applicant’s request to waive the requirement for stormwater, erosion, sediment control and rehabilitation plans “given that it has been a quarry for 40 years”.
Councillors relaxed a requirement for upgrading Stewart Road.
Residents said they were concerned at the danger of quarry trucks sharing a 3.65m road with school bus and private vehicle traffic.
“Why would the council decline to accept money to upgrade a road so narrow that it would be impossible for a quarry truck and a school bus to pass each other?” one said.
Others said they were concerned about the likely effects of quarry dust on asthmatic children, as well as the noise from quarrying operations.
Another said the quarry would be “a tremendous scar on the landscape”. They accused council of bulldozing the issue through by not allowing them to address yesterday’s meeting.
Committee chairman Ian Petersen said it was council policy not to allow deputations on issues before councillors at that meeting, “but they would have been invited to an earlier meeting if they had asked”.
He said the quarry, licensed for 5000 tonnes of extraction a year, was too small for the Mines Department to look at it. “I haven’t done the maths, but it amounts to about two trucks a day, which is not a lot of traffic.
“We didn’t ask for the road to be upgraded because legally we can only make requirements that are ‘reasonable and relevant’ and upgrading the road for two trucks a day would not be reasonable,” Cr Petersen said.
“There is no permission for blasting or drilling and this activity and noise level is normal in a rural area.”