This update covers a few topics:
- CCC matters
- Progress on the survey about a path along Brandy Hill Drive
- The impact of the Martins Creek quarry
- Current Gravel Projects
Minutes of the May meeting were finalised and will be posted shortly on our website. The significant items included:
- A draft Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) had been provided to CCC members on a confidential basis, seeking community feedback prior to it being finalised. A number of items were challenged, and these were to be fully documented by BHSA.
- The need for a pathway along Brandy Hill Drive was discussed, but it was clear that the Port Stephens Council representatives were not taking the idea seriously, and were also not considering that Hanson were prepared to contribute funding for it.
- HANSON’s contribution of free and discounted gravel for residents to repair driveways after the April Super Storm was gratefully appreciated. (Note that the Daracon Martins Creek quarry provided no community assistance after that storm).
The September CCC was a significant milestone. The minutes will not be posted until they are approved at the next meeting, currently set for 26th November. The highlights were:
- Councillors Paul LeMottee and Geoff Dingle, and John Maretich from PSC attended for the first time. The councillors fully supported the resident’s plea for a pathway. Hanson supported the need for a path and confirmed their willingness to negotiate on the funding of the safety improvements and pathway. Though John Maretich expressed concerns about the cost and practicality of building a pathway, PSC was asked to progress the engineering and cost assessments for input to subsequent negotiations. The previous council representative no longer works for the council.
- BHSA advised that a survey was being conducted to get wider community feedback on the prospect of a pathway. Early responses were all strongly in favour of a pathway.
- The feedback BHSA had provided on the draft TIA, had been forwarded to the consultant responsible, and most of the points had resulted in positive changes to the final TIA. Whilst not every suggestion had been taken up in full, it was a significant improvement, including recognition that the roadway is unsuitable for pedestrians. BHSA advised that we will challenge some aspects of the TIA when it is on public exhibition, as it paints an overly “rose coloured glasses” view of the suitability of the roads at present, and their assessment of the cumulative impact with the Martins Creek quarry grossly understated the number of trucks coming from there.
- Hanson advised that the noise impact report had been prepared, and that their full EIS had now been presented to the department of planning (DOP) for an “adequacy check”. Hanson agreed to provide the CC members with a copy of the noise impact report.
EIS is nearing the Public Exhibition phase, and the timing will depend on what if any additional documentation or changes the DOP requests from Hanson.
A letterbox drop and website post of the survey has resulted in about 50 responses at last count. Thanks to all the people who took the time. Almost all respondents strongly support the need for a pathway. A full analysis of the responses to each question, and a précis of the comments will be posted when time permits. If you have not yet returned your survey, please do by mid November.
Suffice to say that the feedback has strongly supported our committee’s push for infrastructure to improve safety along the main quarry haul route.
MARTINS CREEK QUARRY
We often have a representative at the MCQAG committee meetings and also at the MCQ CCC meetings. The Paterson community is very much opposed to Daracon operating that quarry at considerably higher levels of truck traffic than State Rail ever did, as it is having a significantly damaging effect on local businesses, area roads and residential amenity. Dungog council has taken legal action against Daracon for breaching the extraction licence they believe applies. Daracon pays no levy for road maintenance to any of the three council areas crossed by its haulage routes!
Daracon is hoping to legitimise its operations which are already approaching 1.5mtpa by submitting an EIS for that level of operation. The significant aspect for Brandy Hill is that they estimate that on average, 25% of their trucks will use the Butterwick road, Clarencetown Road, Brandy Hill Drive and Seaham Road route toward Raymond Terrace. Obviously, depending on the major contract destinations, the proportion using this route will vary but the peaks will almost double the trucks using Brandy Hill drive.
Daracon have not yet prepared their TIA, so we are yet to see their assessment of the cumulative impact of the two quarries.
CURRENT GRAVEL PROJECTS
There are major infrastructure projects in the Williamtown area, including the airport upgrade. The three local quarries are all providing gravel for these projects, so the number of trucks using the route to Raymond Terrace will be noticeably higher than usual. This is a taste of what the norm is likely to be if the quarry licences are increased, and the peaks will be even greater!