Hanson’s EIS for the proposed Brandy Hill quarry expansion is now on public exhibit, and the project is open for submissions from today and until 9th April, 2017.
The EIS can be viewed here. Click the “+” beside “Environmental Impact Statement (23)” to access the 23 individual documents. The first is the main EIS document followed by 22 appendices with more detail on the various topics. Please study the documents that are of most interest or relevance to you. Appendices 17 – SocioEconomic Impact, 8 – Traffic Impact Assessment, 9- Noise and 11 – Air Quality are among the appendices we think are most relevant.
Let me firstly reiterate that we are not opposed to the ongoing operations of the quarry and the jobs it provides. But any expansion must balance the benefits to Hanson and NSW in general, with the needs, health, well-being and safety of residents in the vicinity of the quarry, and also residents along the various quarry haul routes and other road users of those routes.
The NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) is the consent authority for this expansion because it qualifies as “State Significant”. This is the first time since the quarry was established that public submissions are being sought as input before a decision is made on the various aspects of expansion and what conditions are to be imposed on future quarry operations. Previously, Port Stephens Council was the consent authority and approved various expansions without public consultation, and applied very few conditions to the operations.
The DPE, after consulation with BH/S Action, has agreed to hold a public meeting at :
Raymond Terrace Bowling Club
2 Jacaranda Ave
Wednesday 22nd March at 6:30pm.
(Seaham Public School principal refused to allow use of the school hall and the Seaham School of Arts hall is unavailable, so we are sorry for any extra travel time or inconvenience this venue causes).
The agenda will include providing an overview of what Hanson are proposing in the expansion. There will be speakers from DPE, BHSA and VOWW (Voice of Wallalong and Woodville).You will be able to ask questions and state your views. The DPE wants to understand the community’s concerns about the proposed expansion, and will also explain how to lodge a submission. Individuals, businesses, community and sporting groups are all encouraged to lodge a submission if you have any concerns and would like the expansion to be limited or have conditions of any sort imposed.
Government and statuary bodies such as the RMS and Port Stephens Council (PSC) will also make submissions. BHSA will be meeting with PSC next week to see where our concerns align.
BHSA will of course be lodging a submission, but this is your chance to have your views and concerns heard. The more submissions that amplify the various concerns, the more that the DPE is likely to apply restrictions to future quarry operations. Remember that what the DPE decides now will shape the operations of the quarry for the next 30 years. Market conditions and ownership of the quarry can all change. For example, as quarries in the Sydney area close, quarries further afield such as in the Hunter Valley will seek a share of that market, and will want to dispatch trucks earlier and earlier in the morning to get to market in time. We have examples in our vicinity (Martins Creek Quarry – Paterson) where rules were not spelt out clearly enough and the new owners have exploited any loophole they could find without concern for the local community. Whatever the DPE decides regarding this expansion will carry forward, so have your say!
It is almost 4 years since Hanson announced their expansion intentions. After many Community Consultative Committee meetings for Hanson to understand the many community concerns, the EIS offers NO compromise on 24/7 operations and almost nothing for the improvement of roads, footpaths, bus stops or anything else to address the loss of amenity that the expansion will cause for local residents. If Hanson are not offering these things, we must rely on the DPE to impose appropriate conditions on the quarry expansion.
We hope to see you at the Bowling club on 22nd March, and that you prepare and lodge your submission by the due date so that your voice is heard.
Lastly, we need new people to help our committee by sharing your views in this final stage, so please contact us if you can help in any way. We also ask you to inform your friends and neighbours about the upcoming meeting and encourage them to attend.