Legal action over quarries

GYMPIE Regional Council is facing a legal battle after conditionally approving an application for a quarry along Stewart Road at Coondoo.

Council’s solicitors King and Company have been instructed to take necessary action to protect council’s interests after a notice of appeal to the Planning and Environment Court from Richard and Liza Watkins, who also live on Stewart Road, was received by council.

In their appeal the Watkins say the quarry proposal should be rejected or have a condition to upgrade Stewart Road placed on it.

The Watkins claim that at a planning meeting on May 19, council recognised Stewart Road as inadequate to handle increased traffic and weight of trucks moving up to 5000 tonnes of raw materials per year, and placed a condition on the development that the applicant had to upgrade the road to a suitable safe standard and a width of two lanes.

They further claim the condition was deleted at a subsequent meeting, also in May.

Another condition to restrict times trucks can use Stewart Road so they do not endanger the safety of school children had been negotiated from no use between 7am and 9am, or 3pm and 3.30pm to between 7am and 7.30am, and 4.15pm and 4.45pm, and were no longer sufficient, the appeal said.

The Watkins also claim incorrect environmental assessment reports had been conducted and other planning was incomplete.

Meanwhile, the ABC has reported mines and explosives inspectors are expected to visit a quarry at Kin Kin this week as part of an investigation into alleged safety breaches at the site.

The inspectors are to be joined by officers from the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM), who suspended operations at the quarry last week after a surprise inspection in July.

That inspection found Nielsen’s Quality Gravels at Shepparton’s Lane was not complying with safety procedures.

An action group, made up of Kin Kin residents, is taking legal action with the Planning and Environmental Court to try to shut the Neilsens quarry for good.

Allen Packer, of the Quarry Action Working Group, told the ABC a State Government investigation did not go far enough.

“The department may be able to enforce certain things under legislation,” Mr Packer said.

“They will, hopefully, insist upon compliance with the safety issues,” he said.

“As far as we can see, the achievements here will be very cosmetic.”

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