Ken Wilcock’s slice of paradise may be lost if a quarry planned across the river from his home gets the go ahead from council.
Ken Wilcock’s slice of paradise may be lost if a quarry planned across the river from his home gets the go ahead from council. Craig Warhurst

Quarry fight near Mary River

A PRISTINE spot in which to settle down and enjoy some peace and quiet after life in the big city was how Ken Wilcock and his wife saw their Curra home 10 years ago.

Now, all that could change with an application before Gympie Regional Council to develop a quarry on the other side of his river front property.

The proposal for an extracting and processing quarry on just under 132 hectares fronting Curra Estate Road and backing onto the Mary River would see up to 100,000 tonnes of rock and sand processed next door to Mr Wilcock’s home every year.

“I just think it’s not right – that you can buy a piece of property and have it approved for aquatic pursuits. It’s like having a restaurant and someone opening a sewerage plant next door,” he said this week.

Mr Wilcock had previously obtained approval from the former Kilkivan Shire Council to operate an “aquatic pursuits development” in the river right near the proposed quarry.

And he has asked GRC how he could keep that viable with a quarry on its doorstep. He handed that question with a list of objections to council recently.

On that list were concerns the quarry would effect the amenity of the area.

Mr Wilcock said the noise of a 32- tonne excavator just metres away, picking up boulders and dropping them, would be “horrendous” and mean his wife may have to quit her job. A nurse, who regularly works night shift, she would not be able to sleep through the noise of quarry operations, he said.

Working out there would be one 110 tonne truck heading to and from Gympie every five minutes if the quarry processed the maximum amount of sand and gravel applied for, Mr Wilcock said the trucks would pose an unnecessary safety risk on an already congested Bruce Highway.

“When the place was up for sale the new owners said they just wanted to drive the tractor up and down; I would have bought it myself if I’d known.

“I hope council makes the right decision.”

The Curra quarry application was lodged by Colin Hose under the former Tiaro Shire Council planning scheme which Mr Wilcock said had been superseded and, therefore, should not be used by council.

In July, GRC held off on making a decision about the application until a road safety analysis could be completed by a traffic consultant to ensure the safe operation of the quarry.

The meeting was told back then the proposal “generally complies with the Planning Scheme provisions, is able to minimise adverse impacts on surrounding residents and appropriate mitigation measures have been proposed to minimise environmental harm”.

But Mr Wilcock said there was no way the quarry could minimise the noise of trucks rumbling along rural roads and over the site or the noise of screening boulders from sand and gravel.

“As a civil engineer I can assure you that there is no way of controlling fine dust particles or screen the effects the operation has on the landscape from the public,” he said.

Other concerns he had include the decline in property values surrounding the proposed quarry and safe highway access for the trucks.

Mr Wilcock said with so many new subdivisions approved around the site it didn’t seem right to smack a quarry right in the middle of the “ribbon of development”.

“A quarry of any magnitude is not appropriate in any form in a rural residential development.”

Gympie Times


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