This document was released at the “Chat Session” last week. It will be discussed at the next CCC meeting on 21st February, so we may have some comments about it after that. We are interested in your comments about it so we can take those to the meeting.
Brandy Hill Community and Stakeholder Engagement Plan Working Document 2019
The original approval for works was on the condition that when the extraction reached what sounds like where they are currently, that the operator would remediate the surface and return the operation to the community as parkland. The exact terminology and language is on file at PSC. In a nutshell the quarry is done. Going below this set level raises further issues within the surrounding residential community established by the quarry operation to fund the required access to the operation.
The spirit of the original approvals was that within that context the operation and residential community could coexist in safety and harmony. Expanding these conditions would amount to the operation breaking its agreement with the community it created. So no to deeper mining and no to 24 hour operation and definitely no to the concrete crusher.
The table of “issues evaluation” is subjective and lacks credibility. Being kept awake by overnight operations at the quarry is unacceptable (as one Friday night in the last couple of months).
It is all good and well for Hanson to promise all manner of measures to placate the community and gain approval for this expansion, however, once approved there would be little the community could do when it becomes clear that all the “promises” are malarkey. How do we know their promises are empty, the technical and complex presentation of their document.
The only way to truly investigate Hanson’s voracity would be an independent cctv monitor of the operation for a period of time say 3 years and have council and the epa monitor noise, vibration and pollution levels independently of Hanson. Without the means to prove the transgressions (or lack there of) this all becomes he said she said.
When purchasing our property the agent pointed the quarry out to us and his words were “the quarry over there is a small operation and should’nt bother you here, it is expected to be mined out in the next 20 years”. That was 1991, so quite probably the quarry has reached the end of its life.
There seems a natural and understandable tendency to react in terms of the shorter term effects on the affected community.
In order to attract wider and more far reaching environmental support, I believe promotion needs to be considered on the long term environmental effects of further expansion. The very deep void to be left with what seems to be no planning as to consequence or toxicity – imagine the effect this may have on long term land values particularly if it is considered suitable for some form of landfill activity/ asbestos or toxic dump due to the relative stability of the host igneous intrusion.
Mining voids will cause a massive headache to future environmental planning within the Hunter Valley – so called environmental bonds will be far from sufficient to cover rehabilitation, and there is a planning black hole in even considering the long term consequence. What provision has been made in any of the expansion planning now under consideration for these long term effects, particularly so close to urban settlement?
These far reaching long term environmental effects will garner much broader support than what may be considered a few local people bitching over truck movements, noise and dust. I suggest you urgently enlist the aid of environmental groups to engage this broader support.
Regarding Real Estate Agents providing half truths about the life of the quarry, we have heard from a few people on this subject. The 1983 EIS did estimate a 30 year life for the project, based on the proposed mining area, pit depth and surveyed rock quality and estimated production and sales rates. The approved mining area and pit depth became part of the council approval and EPA license. Some sellers used the estimated life to imply that the quarry would automatically close by 2013. Even after 2013 when Hanson announced plans to extend operations by increasing the pit area and depth, some sellers hid this information and only mentioned that the reserves available from the 1983 consent were almost exhausted and the quarry would have to close. Clearly very unethical and immoral behaviour, which misled many buyers.
Many people were aware that a 30 year life was mentioned in the EIS, and interpreted that to be the approved life in the consent, and that peace and tranquility and a dust free life would be returned. Unfortunately that is not true. The 30 years was merely the estimated life, based on the estimated reserves and sales rates, in order to predict the economic benefits and other matters in order to get approval to open the quarry. It was never a date incorporated into either PSC’s consent or the EPA license.
Hanson’s proposal before the DPE for an “Expansion” of the quarry, is very true in all the respects of expanding the mining area, pit depth, production rate and hours of operation. It is the more than doubling of the pit depth, production rate and hours of operation that are of the most concern to residents.