Much has been happening in the last few weeks regarding the expansion of Martins Creek Quarry which is managed by Daracon. Why are we concerned? Over half of the quarry truck traffic travels through our area, causing great concern over issues of safety, especially during school bus pick-up and drop-off times. There are also the ongoing issues of noise and road deterioration. Did you know that the wear and tear on a road, per axle of a fully laden truck is the equivalent of 10,000 cars. ( Statistic given by Mayor of Dungog Council at a recent closed community forum which Neil and I attended on behalf of our group.) This quarry is operating without an licence that is recognised by all stakeholders, and is causing extreme angst in the community of Paterson and elsewhere over the volume of truck movements. I believe we have a part to play to support their protest and thereby reduce the potential to cause even more headaches for us in Brandy Hill and Nelsons Plains.
Since Daracon took over operating the quarry from state rail, it has dramatically increased extraction rates and almost all product is being sent by road instead of rail. The operating license is in dispute as to the annual tonnage limit and no tonnage levy is paid to Dungog or any of the other councils whose roads are affected. The roads have already suffered significant deterioration which Dungog does not have the funds to repair. To resolve these matters, Daracon is now in a similar process to Hanson, in preparing a development application. Daracon also wants to increase tonnage to 1.5 million tonnes/year, by road. A Community Consultative Committee (CCC) will also be formed as part of the DA process. Unlike the Hanson CCC, all three councils have agreed to provide representatives.
The public has been invited to attend a public meeting on the 31st July at Paterson. You will find the official invitation below.
Remember, we will suffer from the cumulative effect of two quarries seeking to expand!