Brandy Hill Drive Shared Pathway – First Consultation Meeting

Port Stephens Council’s (PSC) online information and consultation meeting was held last Tuesday, with a number of residents participating. These were the points that I noted:

  • The project is still in the concept phase.
  • Consultation has occurred with the bus companies, regarding the best locations for the bus stop bays. The proposed locations were not clearly shown on the map provided.
  • The bus stops that were mentioned along Brandy Hill Drive (BHD) included ones at the intersections with Warrigal, Werai and Tandara. Only 1 bus stop was discussed along Seaham Road, which was at Sophia Jane Drive.
  • Each bus stop will have bays on both sides of the road. ie for buses travelling in both directions.
  • PSC identified two pathway route options.
    Option 1 is their preferred route, which has the pathway in the section between Werai Close (#56 BHD) and #84 BHD on the eastern side of BHD, with the remainder on the south-western side. Option 2 has the pathway all on the south-western side of BHD.
  • Under option 1, the road crossings would NOT be zebra pedestrian crossings. They would have pedestrian refuges at each side, but pedestrians must give way to traffic at that type of crossing.
  • Both options require power poles to be moved, necessitating brief power outages. Fewer outages would be needed for option 1.
  • Both options are likely to require some land acquisitions. ie need to move front boundaries/fences back a short distance. Potentially affected land owners have been consulted.
  • Where acquisitions are required, landowners will be compensated based on valuations, and fences replaced at PSC expense on a like for like basis.
  • Where the pathway crosses driveways, these too will be repaired/replaced on a like for like basis. The pathway construction will be consistent with the traffic load at each point. i.e. more robust where vehicle traffic is involved such as on access roads and crossing driveways.
  • Information about the pathway is provided at:
    https://www.portstephens.nsw.gov.au/live/resident-services/capital-works/2021-2022/brandy-hill-drive,-brandy-hill
    That page has a link to a basic map and concept plan for the pathway. portstephens.mysocialpinpoint.com.au/brandy-hill-shared-path/map#/
  • Questions and feedback can be posted onto the above map, as follows:
    Click and drag one of the icons for Thumbs-up, Ideas or Comments to the applicable map location.
    Fill in the details, tick agree to terms, and click “Add Comment”.
    You will receive an email confirmation of your entry.
  • Please pass this onto your friends, neighbours along BHD and other stakeholders, to encourage them to provide feedback to PSC via the map.
  • Further consultation, design and costing will be undertaken to eventually produce a detailed plan.

Hanson continues to prepare their management plans that require approval before they can apply to adopt the new consent. Once the new consent is adopted, quarry output cannot exceed the previous limit of 700,000 tonnes per year, until the pathway and bus bays are completed.

That’s all for now.

Brandy Hill Quarry – Expansion Update

Two things to report.

Firstly, a CCC will be held tomorrow, so we may have more to report on Hanson’s plans for adopting the new consent, after the meeting.

Secondly, as you know, a condition of the new consent is that a shared pathway and bus bays must be completed before Hanson can increase annual output over the current 700,000 tonnes per year.

Port Stephens Council delivered a newsletter to residents this week, outlining the concept plan for the 2.1 metre wide and 4.4km long pathway. See attached.

The website says that design is expected to be finalised by the end of 2021, and construction to begin in 2022, with an estimated budget of $3.4m.

An online information session is planned for residents on 23rd November, 4-5pm. Register to attend on the PSC website:

https://www.portstephens.nsw.gov.au/live/resident-services/capital-works/2021-2022/brandy-hill-drive,-brandy-hill

Reporting Koala Sightings

Have you seen a koala in your area? Please use the following link to report it. It will help with the effort we are all making to ensure Council is aware of the koala numbers in our area and that there needs to be an effort to look after them, be it with new signage or development policies. It also helps residents to be on the lookout when driving on local roads.

This koala has been seen several times in the Warragul and Bangalay area of Brandy Hill.

An important tool Council uses to identify locations for Koala signage is the community Koala sightings map located on this Council webpage. (Position and Zoom the map, click + and drag the pin to the sighting location, fill in the other details and complete the entry).

Council encourages the community to utilise this map system and upload all koala sightings on a regular basis to help inform Council’s decisions about types and locations of wildlife management, such a roadside signage. If you have any questions about the Koala sightings map please contact Council’s Environmental Planning Team on environmentalplanningteam@portstephens.nsw.gov.au .

CCC Meeting Minutes 11th August 2021

The Brandy Hill Quarry Community Consultative Committee met last month by video conference. The finalised minutes and photo of the updated quarry entrance sign are included below. Click “Download” to read the minutes.

The two main topics covered were the progress on the management plans and expected timeframe for Hanson adopting the new consent, and PSC’s progress and expected timeframe for the design and construction of the shared pathway and bus-bays.

The first answer is perhaps late 2021 depending on DPIE approval of the draft management plans, and the second is that PSC have made little progress on even designing the pathway.

(PSC officers promised Margarete in a separate meeting, that there would be community consultations regarding the design and route for the pathway. As that consultation with BHSAG has not yet happened, we can only assume that the design work is not even at a draft stage.

The significance of the pathway is that is is a long overdue for the safety and amenity of residents, and for Hanson, while they can adopt the new consent conditions without the completed pathway, they are restricted to the current 700,000 tonnes per annum. Output can only increase beyond that and up to the 1.5m tonnes per annum limit after the footpath and bus-bays are completed.)

The complaints hotline phone number has been added to the sign

Has Bushfire Season started?

Spring has officially started. Winter is over and the weather is warming. If you haven’t yet finished burning off your vegetation rubbish piles you may be wondering if burn off permits are now required? Well the answer in the Lower Hunter zone is NO! Not yet. Many neighbouring zones started bushfire season on September 1st including Muswellbrook, Singleton and Upper Hunter. Our recent good rains have delayed the fire risk in our area, which is expected to commence the bushfire season and permits on October 1st.

Read the details in this RFS Bulletin:

https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/news-and-media/media-releases/bush-fire-danger-period-to-begin-in-a-further-21-areas

New Speed Limit and Safety on Seaham Road

Recently the speed limit on Seaham Rd through Nelson’s Plains was reduced to 80kph. There was much controversy as some felt the extra few minutes it would take to get from “a to b” was an unacceptable imposition.

Local residents along Seaham Rd have long felt the dangers of speeding traffic. Those needing to exit or enter their properties welcomed the reduction in speed limit. Residents who live near the Hinton Rd intersection regularly see the accidents and clean up the debris.

A recent accident occurred where a car was turning right into a property. The driver had the indicator on, brakes applied and needed to wait for an oncoming bus before he could make the turn. Unfortunately another car was bearing down on the stationary vehicle from behind, at speed well over the 80kph limit and the impact propelled the stopped vehicle into the path of the oncoming bus. Thankfully the bus driver could see this play out before her and was able to stop with barely a metre to spare.

Luckily the driver and the child in the impacted car were not severely injured but the traumatic experience will live with them and their family for a long while. As it will with the bus driver and the driver who wasn’t paying attention and caused the accident. The speding driver was attended to by ambulance staff, but luckily was not hospitalized.

This is a vindication of the reduction in speed that local residents have been asking for over many years. However, people constantly ignore the limits and use their mobile phones while driving and thus are not aware of what is happening right before their eyes.

So, when you think that travelling over 80 will get you to your destination faster remember that local residents have no alternative but to slow down and wait before they can access their driveways.

Martins Creek Quarry Expansion – Submission Period Extended

Anyone that travels to Paterson or Maitland will appreciate the impact that an extra 280 truck movement/day will have on the queues and congestion in Melbourne street and surrounding roads, I encourage you to make a submission.
The following was received from MCQAG:

“Martins Creek Railway Ballast Quarry currently has an amended development application on public exhibition (link to the exhibted documents here)

The proposal being exhibited is an amendment to the 2016 EIS and SSDA that was previously exhibited in November 2016 and also follows on from the largest decision in the NSW Land & Environment Court history that in 2019 led to the operator of the quarry being restrained from unlawful operations at the site which it had been conducting since 2012. 

This planning process is independent and unrelated to the court action.

The Amendment DA is seeking approval for the following;

  • 1,100,000 tonne per annum extraction for 25 years
  • clearing of 21Ha of native vegetation containing EPBC threatened species (Koalas, Slatey Red Gums, swift Parrots, Regent Honey eaters and Spotted Quals)
  • 500,000 tpa transport of product by road
  • 600,000 tpa transport of product by rail from the site
  • 280 truck movements per day (peak) 140 loaded/140 empty
  • 40 truck movements per hour (peak) 20 loaded/20 empty

We hope as many concerned residents can lodge submissions objecting to the proposal. In relation to the human/built environment impacts we have summarized these in a link on our website, primarily MCQAG is recommending that residents with “Lived Experiences” of past unlawful operations detail in their submissions how the above parameters will result in a return to those impacts that have impacted them and their communities historically, we are advising that residents pay particular attention to the amenity and social impacts (sense of place, social fabric, rural amenity etc) that can NOT be explained away in technical studies relating to noise, vibration or air quality. 

In relation to the fauna and flora impacts these have been “detailed” in the proponents biodiversity assessment report (Link to doc here), the consultant report finds that a number of the above EPBC threatened species could reside but haven’t been found on the site, however we have photographic evidence that all have been located/sighted on land immediately adjoining the site, and the study has therefore understated the impact likely to occur with the removal of this habitat.

Submissions are now due by COB on the 31st July we understand (they must be lodged via this portal Link Here).

Any submissions opposing the Proposal (including a key focus on the impacts that have been omitted/understated by the Proponent and their Environmental consultant Umwelt) as detailed above would be greatly appreciated.

Happy to take calls/queries to assist in relation to submission lodgement etc.

thanks in advance
James Ashton
Secretary MCQAG”

Petition opposing the “sale” of public parklands in PSC area

Without endorsing any political party, if you oppose the current NSW government’s plans to offer 615 parcels of PSC public land to developers, then please click “Download” below, read the document, then print page 4 and sign it and send the page to the address on page 5, or email it to portstephens@parliament.nsw.gov.au .

Raymond Terrace Riverside Park is just one example.

Martins Creek Quarry – Submissions Due on Revised Plan

Daracon’s updated plan, after their earlier one was ruled invalid by the courts, is on display for public comment from 2nd June until 2nd July.

I understand the plan is for all trucks to go via Bolwarra to the Highway at Melbourne St East Maitland, so Butterwick Rd/ Brandy Hill Dr would only be used for local destinations on those roads. However, if you travel to Paterson or Maitland, you will have experienced how much, when that quarry was operating illegally, that the quarry truck traffic adversely impacted on the residents, businesses and other road users on that route. The Martins Creek quarry truck volumes under this plan will be similar to then. The growth of Maitland since, means traffic queues and congestion in Maitland and East Maitland in particular are now much much worse, without any Martins Creek quarry trucks. With the Brandy Hill quarry expansion sending 25% of trucks also via Maitland, the future traffic noise, congestion and impacts in the future will be amplified.

So now is your chance to have your say, until 2nd July. Please refer to the attached flier provided by the Martins Creek Quarry Action Group (MCQAG), and the link to the Department of Planning project.

https://www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/major-projects/project/10051

Despite years of consultation regarding the real and lived devastating social impacts , Daracon are pressing for the majority of product to be transported through Paterson by road, despite the existence of the on site rail siding. Please make your submission by the 2nd July.