October 2016 Update

In this post:

  1. BHSA Committee Update
  2. Hanson’s Brandy Hill Quarry Expansion Status
  3. Daracon’s Martins Creek Quarry Expansion Status
  4. Next Steps

1 BHSA Committee Update

Though it has been 12 months since we have posted an update, the BHSA committee is still operating. However, James Hart is moving and has had to cease his activity on the committee, leaving just the Ritchies and Fishers plus Bob Adams and Peter Rees on the committee. If anyone else would like to join the committee for the important next phase, then please contact us.

The lack of recent posts is because no further CCC meetings have occurred while Hanson has been preparing their full EIS. The committee members have also needed a break from the stress and responsibilities of this important community issue.

We have not been completely idle! The council mergers announced by the NSW government in February or early March, which included PSC/Newcastle merger, triggered phone and email contact with NSW Planning. We wanted to make NSW Planning aware of BHSA’s role on the CCC, the size of the Brandy Hill community on the main haul route, our stance on the expansion (based on the results of our community surveys), and our concern over the impacts of the NSW government’s planned council mergers. While the topics raised in those discussions will be well known to Hanson, we felt that revealing the detail to Hanson before they submit their EIS would be counter-productive to our cause, so it was not posted on our website.

The proposed PSC/ Newcastle council merger remains a great concern. We expected that it would take PSC council’s attention away from them developing plans and costings for the concessions we have been asking for at the CCC. Those actions are essential prerequisites for them to negotiate with Hanson on any Voluntary Planning Agreement (VPA) that would cover road maintenance and the other concessions BHSA has been asking for to alleviate/mitigate community concerns over the expansion. The feedback from NSW planning was encouraging at the time, but after we joined a recent MCQAG delegation which met with PSC mayor and senior staff, our worst concerns have played out. PSC has done nothing on the Brandy Hill expansion, let alone considered the potential cumulative impacts of both quarry expansions!.

Committee members have also attended many Martins Creek Quarry Action Group (MCQAG) committee meetings. More on that matter in section 3.

Our dormant period is ending, as we understand that Hanson are close to finalising their EIS, and Daracon’s EIS went on public exhibit last week. Refer to the following sections 2, 3 and 4 for more details.

2 Hanson’s Brandy Hill Quarry Expansion Status

On the NSW Planning website:
this project is still at stage 2  “Proponent Prepares DA and EIS”, of the 7 stage process.

On 11th October Hanson contacted CCC attendees with the following:

“Hanson are finalising the EIS based on feedback from the Department of Planning and Environment and wish to include the agenda of the CCC meetings in the consultation section of the EIS. This will include the names of CCC members who attended the meetings and will be made public during the public exhibition period of the EIS. It is not proposed to include the minutes of the meetings.

Could you please advise via return email if you approve the inclusion of the agenda in the EIS.”

We replied with our consent, but have also asked why not include all the minutes as well, as from our perspective the minutes would clearly show the degree of actual consultation and where Hanson have and have not changed their proposal based on the community delegates feedback and requests.

From the above, we conclude that Hanson must be close to submitting their EIS. However, we also understand that after Hanson lodge their EIS, NSW planning will assess it for adequacy against the requirements in the Director Generals’ Requirements (DGRs) as stage 3. Then, as in the case of Daracon’s initial EIS, NSW planning may ask for additional detail, which would further delay the EIS going on public exhibit, which is stage 4 of the planning process.

A recent discovery of major concern to BHSA and MCQAG, is that the DGRs for both quarry expansions were changed without notifying the community groups, and probably not the councils, RMS etc. The new versions are dated 4th August 2016 for Martins Creek, and 5th July 2015 for Brandy Hill. The superseded versions have been removed from NSW planning’s website making it difficult to identify the actual changes, but it seems that additional requirements added after community feedback to the initial versions mainly around the cumulative impact of two quarry expansions, has been watered down! We have written to NSW planning on this matter and are waiting a reply.

3 Daracon’s Martins Creek Quarry Expansion Status

After NSW planning rejected Daracon’s EIS in July because of many deficiencies, a revised EIS was accepted by NSW planning and was put on public exhibit on 13th Oct. Submissions will be accepted up to 24th Nov. The DGRs for that project were revised on 4th August as noted above, so NSW Planning changed the goal posts. Why? We have asked for an explanation but have not yet received an explanation!

The Martins Creek Quarry EIS includes nothing on the potential cumulative impact of traffic, so we are very surprised and concerned that NSW planning, in putting the EIS on public exhibit, has deemed that the EIS meets the DGRs!

We are particularly concerned about the cumulative impact of the quarry truck movements of this expansion in conjunction with the Brandy Hill quarry expansion. While Daracon estimate that 25% of their annual tonnage will go via Brandy Hill Drive, at times, depending on contracts, that can ALL go along Brandy Hill drive, as it did for the Hexham rail siding project. The EIS states that the peak frequency of Daracon’s truck deliveries is 40 per hour. We expect Hanson’s figures will be similar. Add a similar number of unladen trucks going to each quarry and the peak total could be 160 truck movements per hour! If the additional trucks alone is not sufficient to have you concerned, perhaps the extended operating hours that Daracon want so that they can service the Sydney market, in conjunction with Hanson wanting a 24/7 permit for the same reason, will have you hopping mad!

The Martins Creek EIS can be viewed here: http://majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au/index.pl?action=view_job&job_id=6612
The first EIS document is an overview (~190 pages), with more detail in the many further documents. NSW planning are holding a community meeting at the Paterson School Of Arts Hall, at 6:30pm on 2nd November.

MCQAG have prepared the following leaflet that will be letter box dropped in all the affected areas and along haul routes in the coming days.

Your attendance at the Paterson meeting will show NSW Planning something of the level of concern for that project, but your best course of action to influence NSW Planning to either reduce the annual extraction tonnage, limit the proportion going via road with the balance going via rail, and/or limit the operating hours so that our sleeping hours are not disturbed, or any other matter concerning you, is to make a personal submission. It is easy via the NSW Planning website. That is also NSW Planning’s preferred method. Use the link above and scroll down. This will be a practice for when the Brandy Hill Quarry EIS goes on public exhibit.

4 Next Steps

Brandy Hill Quarry Expansion:

  • Draft what you want to say to NSW Planning for when the time comes to make your submission. Wait for the EIS to go on public exhibit. We expect NSW Planning will hold a public meeting during the exhibition period. Then finalise and send in your submission before the closing date (yet to be set).
  • Contact us if you can assist the BHSA committee. We need your help!

Martins Creek Quarry Expansion:

  • Read the EIS overview and relevant other documents on NSW planning website (above), and attend the Paterson meeting at 6:30pm on 2nd November.
  • Draft your submission ASAP, polish it up and send it to NSW planning before 24th November. Submissions are your primary and best means to influence NSW planning to reject, limit or change the proposal (eg restrict operating hours or maximum truck movements per hour), and/or apply conditions such as a VPA for roads, footpaths, sound attenuation, intersections, bus stops or other infrastructure or offsets that you want.

That’s all for now from the BHSA committee.

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