Seeking volunteers for a community survey workshop 27th May at Woodville School Of Arts Hall.

Residents between Seaham and Woodville have been extended an invitation to be part of a survey conducted through the University of Canberra, researching the difficulties (if there are any) in this area moving forward on a range of social , environmental, development issues and more. This is being conducted throughout Australia and is in relation to the DOTE (Dropping off the EDGE) longitudinal study.

I have agreed to help facilitate the meetings and that is why I am sharing the information through this website and related Facebook posts. Please read the following information carefully and if you are interested respond directly to RSVP on the flyer attached.

The format will be 2 workshops of 6-8 people each on Thursday 27th May. Time 10.30am – midday and 5.30pm – 7pm. Refreshments will be provided. Please refer to the document below.

I believe this could be a valuable exercise in understanding how we as a community see our strengths and weaknesses and also to understand how we look to the future.

New 80kph Speed limit between Seaham and Hinton Rd Nelsons Plains

I have been advised that the speed limit on Seaham Road between Seaham and the vicinity of the intersection with Hinton Road Nelsons plains, has been reduced from 90 to 80kph.

This is after years of lobbying by VOWW, BHSAG and local residents, with the support of both Hanson and PSC.

Of particular concern has been the intersection with Hinton Road where nearby residents have endured years of angst from countless close shaves and accidents that leave car part debris strewn around. The intersection remains a concern due to the lack of passing and turning lanes. Bus stop safety and that of residents accessing their driveways along this section of Seaham Road has been the other major concern. The speed reduction will give drivers more time to react to slow and turning vehicles, and hopefully will reduce the severity of any collisions that do occur.

This change is consistent with the 80kph speed limit that was introduced on Clarence Town Road and Butterwick Road in 2019.

We are pleased that the speed limit reduction has been implemented before the pending increase in quarry truck movements from the approved quarry expansion, Hanson continue to work toward being able to adopt the new consent.

So please be mindful of the new speed limit, for the safety of locals and other road users, and to avoid speeding fines. As you know, the police and mobile speed cameras do monitor our roads. Also be mindful of mobile phone use camera trailers that have been seen operating in the area.

I have not found any media release from Transport for NSW on the matter, but did notice workmen at the end of Brandy Hill Drive, possibly installing the new signs. If there is any further information come o light, we will keep you informed.

Stay safe.

End-September Update

Firstly, welcome to everyone who follows our website, and particularly those people who have recently joined us.

BHSAG and VOWW have been very busy since May. This update covers activities since the NSW IPC’s 16th July approval of the Brandy Hill quarry expansion, which remains subject to signoff by federal minister for the Environment by 13th October.

Considerable efforts have been directed to ensure the Federal Minister for the Environment has independent current data on the local Koala population, and understands public sentiment on this matter. These efforts have resulted in considerable ongoing media coverage centred on the Facebook campaign “Save Port Stephens Koalas”.  This group now has nearly 4,500 members, locally, nationally and internationally.  You may have seen some of the extensive radio, TV, newspaper and online coverage.   There has been significant celebrity interest and involvement, including Olivia Newton-John, Jimmy Barnes, Magda Szubanski, and Shaynna Blaze.  The Federal Environment Minister met with Campaign Managers and the University Koala Experts last week.  It is still very important that you express your views to the Minister, as per our previous post.  
We are not currently proposing any protest meetings/marches.

One of the many Koala sightings in the area

A team of professional koala experts at the Newcastle University were engaged by BHSAG/VOWW to conduct a koala survey.  They thoroughly researched the koala habitat surrounding the Brandy Hill quarry site. Their report states the quarry expansion would destroy some of the most valuable koala habitat in Port Stephens.  The area is also a critical breeding corridor.  The Brandy Hill/Seaham area is the last in-land koala ‘hub’ and over 40 separate sightings of koalas have been made by locals, within quarry land or in close proximity to the site, since the campaign began.  Breeding female koalas and bellowing males show this is an important breeding ground.   

In addition to quarry matters, VOWW continues to be involved with inappropriate rezoning proposals. A developer wants to have land at 610 Seaham Rd rezoned to small lot rural-residential (<0.8ha). This garnered opposition from the adjacent chicken, turkey and beef farmers. VOWW committee provided support at two council meetings. Despite these efforts,  PSC decided to refer the rezoning to the NSW Planning’s “Gateway” process. Unless Gateway rejects it outright this will go to public exhibit and seek public comment, before a decision is made.

Another inappropriate rezoning to small lot rural-residential in Giles Road was also opposed at a recent council meeting. Fortunately, PSC decided to reject that proposal.

There are other rezoning proposals in the Seaham, Brandy Hill and Nelsons plans areas that we will keep you informed about. One, to rezone part of 792 Seaham Rd (the old Eskdale property) to 2 hectare rural residential, seems to be in keeping with adjacent estates, but we await the details.

BHSAG has also been in contact with DPIE regarding Hanson’s management plan for compliance with the new IPC conditions. DPIE expects Hanson to take up the new consent later this year. Perhaps they are really running out of available rock under the old consent.

BHSAG continues to correspond with PSC regarding Hanson’s trucks ongoing breach of conditions by despatching prior to 6am.

We have also been in contact with our Councillors, to ensure that the bus bays and shared footpath as required under the new consent, are fit for purpose. Given that the roads do not currently meet standards for contemporary quarry trucks, the shared footpath is even more essential for the future safety of pedestrians and cyclists, particularly as trucks are expected to get heavier and longer over the life of the new consent.

We have been contacted by a resident of Woodberry, regarding large numbers of quarry trucks using Raymond Terrace and Woodberry Roads and the Tarro railway bridge and highway interchange. They believe these are Brandy Hill Quarry trucks, using routes that are not approved under either the current or IPC consents.

How can you help VOWW and the BHSAG committee and the work they are doing to fight inappropriate development in West Ward, and to hold PSC accountable?

Become a member of VOWW (BHSAG is a subcommittee of VOWW), an incorporated body to represent you , the local residents. See attached membership application form for details of how to submit your application and pay the $5 annual fee.

Let us show PSC that we are not just “THOSE PEOPLE”, a vocal minority (to be ignored), but a vocal majority! If we don’t act on issues now, we stand to lose our local character and amenity to big developers, who have no regard for us or the environment. We are not opposed to development, just that which is inappropriate for the area. Remember why you chose to live where you do.

Urgent Action Required – PSC to Debate Rezoning 610 Seaham Rd Nelsons Plains on 25th August

Please email or phone councillors tonight or first thing tomorrow, if you have any objections to this rezoning, as it will be voted on tomorrow evening.

At tomorrow’s council meeting, councillors will debate the re-zoning  of farmland at 610 Seaham Rd, Nelson’s Plains from Rural (RU1) to residential (RU5). No one in the community has been made aware of this and as a consequence no objections have been lodged with councillors. The developer of this land has however personally lobbied councillors individually. Developers have a history of getting around the council and state laws with no regard to the community that will most likely to be affected. In this case there will need to be changes made to several council rules regarding access to Seaham Rd., distances to odour sources such as the chicken farms, reduce the minimum lot size, etc.

This potential re-zoning is contrary to all council planning guidelines and the term “rural Lifestyle” does nothing to mitigate the loss of productive farmland and the potential loss of investment and livelihood of the 3 surrounding chicken farms.
We urgently need to get the message to councillors before tomorrow’s meeting that you are opposed to this rezoning.

Here are some of the arguments against.

The local farmers object to this because it places extra pressure on their farming practices. Eg: the need to improve pasture land means spreading fertiliser like chicken manure which will obviously annoy any new housing residents.
The chicken sheds which create odour by their very nature and also night time operation, will be at risk. There are guidelines for new housing close to chicken sheds and agricultural for these very reasons and these guidelines will not be met by rezoning.
The rezoning would be contrary to council’s own planning guidelines for rural West Ward and also contrary to NSW planning guidelines.
An extra road intersection onto Seaham Road would add an extra danger with the possibility of 600 trucks per day from the Hanson quarry, should it get the final go-ahead.
Housing in close proximity to floodplain with stormwater run off and potential for polluting the Williams River.
The reduction of lot sizes below the 1ha, to 8000 square metres.
Incompatible land use in the midst of farm and chicken farm. There will be pressure to then close down this chicken industry.
Main argument is the preservation of valuable, productive farmland and agricultural use. Once this is lost it cannot be regained.

Please email or phone your objections to every councillor by tomorrow. The timeline is crucial. As early as possible. Note the P LeMottee has advised he will abstain due to conflict of interests.

Here is a link to the PSC papers, and go to page 98.

https://www.portstephens.nsw.gov.au/trim/council-minutes-2020?RecordNumber=20%2F260273.

Cr Ryan Palmer
mayor@portstephens.nsw.gov.au | 0402 749 467

East Ward
glen.dunkley@portstephens.nsw.gov.au | 0438 550 356

jaimie.abbott@portstephens.nsw.gov.au | 0403 176 298

john.nell@portstephens.nsw.gov.au | 0419 375 059

Central Ward
chris.doohan@portstephens.nsw.gov.au | 0434 601 957

sarah.smith@portstephens.nsw.gov.au | 0421 317 173

steve.tucker@portstephens.nsw.gov.au | 0437 045 940

West Ward
giacomo.arnott@portstephens.nsw.gov.au | 0468 391 459

ken.jordan@portstephens.nsw.gov.au | 0422 781 180

paul.lemottee@portstephens.nsw.gov.au | 0414 548 525

Welcome to new people following our group.
Thanks for everyone’s support.
Margarete Ritchie.
VOWW.

VPA with Port Stephens Council

We have been quite distracted lately due to corona virus disruptions. The chairperson of the CCC advised us in early March that a Voluntary Planning Agreement (VPA) had been agreed with Port Stephens Council. Sorry for the delay in bringing that to you. The press release about the agreement is here:  2000305 Hanson_Brandy Hill Quarry VPA Statement

Our attempts to obtain the detail of the agreement have been unsuccessful, claiming confidentiality, as it also includes details of the haulage levy.

However, the press release does cover the two key items of infrastructure that BHSAG have campaigned for: Off-road bus stop bays and a shared pathway, so that is very good news. The aspect of when those items would need to be constructed will be determined by the NSW Department of Planning and the Independent Planning Commission. (More on that shortly)

We hope everyone dodged the corona virus, and that you are making cautious use of the relaxed rules for social interactions.

 

Vote for Seaham Community Projects Funding

The following has been provided by Pre McGee from the Seaham Park and Wetland Committee, which  has put forward two projects for NSW Govt funding.  These are a bus shelter and associated laneways at Seaham School and school bus interchange and outdoor exercise equipment for Seaham Park.

These projects have successfully gone through stage 1 and 2 culling and stage 3 is a public vote.

The bus shelter is a high priority because in the 1990s there was a bus shelter which was removed because it was a closed-in structure which did not provide good visibility from the street.

The Seaham School bus stop and associated school bus interchange is both a transfer point for children from surrounding areas going to schools in Maitland and Raymond Terrace but also a disembarkation point for children going to Seaham School.  There are both health and safety issues associated with there being no bus shelter and no formal bus laneway.

Parents and the community are concerned about children waiting in extreme heat for buses.  At the interchange it would be hotter due to the urban island heat effect where localized warming occurs due to dark coloured and paved surfaces and the heat emissions from idling buses creating intense heat.  There is no shelter and no trees at the interchange.

There is also no designated waiting area for school children to wait or alight for buses.

In wet weather school students shelter across the road under the shop awning and run across the road when their bus arrives.  This create safety issues for themselves as well as drivers.

Drivers and children will not be put at risk of children running across the road when their bus arrives as they will be able to shelter on the side of the road where the bus stops.

Please  vote and support these projects. This flyer explains the process.
SP My Community Projects Flyer 2019
(a document box may appear at the bottom of your PC screen – click to open)

VOWW Newsletter and upcoming AGM

Letterboxes in the area have been receiving the following flier about VOWW ‘s activities including the results of the photo competition. The VOWW AGM is on the 31st July at the Woodville School of Arts Hall at 6:30pm. Come along and meet other community minded people.

There will be a guest speaker at this meeting. Chas Keys is a former deputy director of the SES in NSW. He has written extensively on flood management, flood warning systems, planning for floods and education of the community about flood safety. His talk will include the inevitability of population growth pressures on urban fringe areas like ours and will be riveting for residents. Questions will also be welcome.

The BHSAG is a subcommittee of VOWW, so we encourage you to support VOWW with your $5 per year membership, which is due from July each year.

VOWW Newsletter and upcoming AGM

The following form outlines how to become as member.

Application Form

July 2018 Update – MCQ and BHQ

Martins Creek Quarry

Despite the court case brought by DSC closing in April last year, a ruling has still not been made. However, Jacqui Tupper (DSC) notified MCQAG that the court has advised the parties that judgment on the Martins Creek Quarry matter will be handed down by the 17th August 2018. 

The following is a mail-out from MCQAG on 11th July. We encourage you to contact Umwelt to give them your perspective on how that quarry affects you. BHSAG committee members will be meeting with Umwelt. The cumulative impact of both quarries on our area is still a major concern.

Dear Members and Friends

you are receiving this email because we have you in our database as either a financial member of MCQAG or you have lodged your email on our website for updates on Martins Creek Quarry Expansion.

As you may know, MCQAG has never advocated for the closure of Martins Creek Quarry, only that any new consents require the facility to operate at a more reasonable scale that enables the quarry to coexist with residents and neighbours around the site and along the haulage route.

Quarry Expansion Update

Daracon has commenced the “Response to Submissions” stage of the State Significant Development Application process. Daracon has engaged Umwelt an environmental consulting firm based in Teralba as the lead consultancy to perform this work. 

MCQAG committee has met with Umwelt in the past three months, they have explained that they will be re-commencing community consultation and various environmental studies on the project over the coming months.

Umwelt have posted a Community Information Sheet to affected residents during the month of June. The flyer provided information on Daracon’s “Refined Project”. We are aware that many residents have not received this flyer and so we have attached a link to the document: Daracon Community Update

As you can see in the flyer Daracon’s refined project consists of;

  • 900,000 tonne per annum by road
  • 60 truck movements per hour
  • 280 truck movements per day
  • No loading of trucks or pit operations prior to 7am six days per week

The MCQAG committee’s view of the “Refined Project” is that the 7am starting time for load out of trucks and quarry operations is good news for impacted residents however the intensity of the operation proposed on an hourly basis in this refinement match and even exceeds that which was experienced in 2014 and 2015 when life around the facility and along the haulage route (particularly within the activity centre of Paterson) was simply unlivable; with intolerable impacts on our way of life, rural amenity and village character. The proposed increase in daily truck traffic is a 1166% increase in the currently approved 24 trucks per day from the site and the annual extraction limit proposed is a 300% increase from the currently approved 300,000 tonne per annum scale.

We Recommend You Take the Following Action

As noted in the community information sheet link above, Umwelt is commencing stakeholder engagement with affected residents. MCQAG encourages you all to register your interest with Umwelt (via their email social-team@umwelt.com.au) to ensure you get to participate in their consultation process. Importantly MCQAG strongly recommends you;

  • Register with Umwelt to participate in the consultation process using the email above
  • When dealing with Umwelt, remain steadfast regarding the issues that effect you and your community, remember the issues and impacts detailed in your submissions have most likely not been addressed with the refined project parameters listed above
  • Keep records of your discussions with Umwelt
  • Do not allow Umwelt or Daracon to divide and conquer, We must all remain united together to fight against the scale of the refined project to protect our way of life, rural amenity and village character.

We will provide updates to you all as the RTS process continues. Importantly please do not hesitate to contact MCQAG representatives on the telephone number or email below if you wish to discuss this further. We are happy to assist and advocate for you when dealing with Umwelt or Daracon.

MCQAG’s next committee meeting is on the 24th July at the Paterson School of Arts Hall, members and residents are welcome to attend.

Regards
James Ashton 
Secretary MCQAG
0413 616 677
info@mcqag.org

 

Brandy Hill Quarry.

There has not been any communication from Hanson since the CCC meeting early this year. However, James Moore has contacted Hanson regarding an offer they made at that meeting to provide a traffic speed display. The display is mounted on a trailer and would show drivers their actual speed as they approach the display. It does not record any data for subsequent analysis, and Hanson have asked that BHSA cover insurance for the month that they would allow. With the need for insurance and PSC, RMS and resident approval for a suitable location, there are a few hurdles before this could happen.

Although Hanson predicted at the last CCC that their Response to Submissions (RTS) may have been be ready by April, that has not yet happened, and could be months away.

We continue being wholly disappointed in the complete lack of any compromise in Hanson’s project scale, despite the years of CCC meetings and the huge number of opposing submissions from the community. Our disappointment in Hanson is even greater when we see that Daracon, who have never asked for 24/7, reduced their proposed hours of operation and also reduced their proposed road haulage annual tonnage by 40%, maximum trucks per day by 35% and maximum trucks per hour by 25% in their “Community Update” document. At least Daracon appear to be prepared to make some concessions in their Response to Submissions. Hanson have offered none. We can only hope that the NSW Department of Planning rejects Hanson’s approach.

We continue to:

  1. Vehemently oppose 24/7 quarry operations and the huge increase in both the average and maximum trucks per day and per hour. These would be a totally unacceptable assault on the amenity and residential character of the area.
  2. Demand that Hanson provide an off road pathway along Brandy Hill Drive and connecting the the Jacaranda preschool and Brandon park, bus bays and other safety improvements.
  3. Stand by all the other mitigation measures outlined in BHSAG’s submission.

Next Steps

  • We will continue investigating the speed display sign offered by Hanson.
  • Meetings will be held with Umwelt next week.
  • We are already drafting a presentation to the Independent Planning Commission- IPC (the new name for the Planning Assessment Commission – PAC).
    Once NSW planning accept Hanson’s RTS, and make recommendations to the IPC, we expect the IPC to hold a public meeting where key parties will be invited to make short presentations. That will be our last and only avenue to have some restrictions placed on Hanson’s ongoing operations.

Thats all for now. Thanks for your ongoing support. Any feedback via this website is always appreciated.

 

 

2018 New Year Status

Well the New Year has long passed, but little has changed so this is the status for the start of 2018.

The CCC (Community Consultative Committee) meeting that Hanson had proposed for December did not go ahead, so there has been no progress to report regarding Hanson’s EIS. The next meeting of the CCC is now planned for Friday 9th March, so hopefully we have something positive to report from that.

Les & Deb Fisher resigned from the BHSA committee when they moved from Brandy Hill in October, leaving the BHSA committee severely depleted. As BHSA is a sub-committee of VOWW, at the VOWW meeting in November, James Moore, Bronwyn White, Chantal Parslow-Redman and AnneMarie Abel were all endorsed to join the BHSA committee. Thank you to all those people for lending a hand, and joining Neil & Margarete Ritchie and Peter Rees on the committee.

The CCC committee was also depleted with Les Fishers departure. Lisa Andrews the “independent” chairperson, decided that no new CCC members would be appointed without a recruitment process that was in accordance to Department of Planning rules for formal CCCs (which this pre approval group is not). Advertisements were placed in the local paper and formal applications were required and vetted. The new BHSA committee members all applied. James and Bronwyn were accepted, AnneMarie was rejected and Chantal was only accepted as an alternate to fill in for any other BHSA member’s absence. Pre McGee from Seaham was also approved to join the CCC, and PSC endorsed Paul LeMottee to be council’s delegate. A position was also reserved for the Local Aboriginal Land Council.

The CCC community members are now:
1 Robert Adams – Seaham Community Local Resident
2 Peter Rees – Woodville Community VOWW
3 Margarete Ritchie – Brandy Hill Community VOWW, BHSA,
4 Neil Ritchie – Brandy Hill Community VOWW, BHSA, Martins Creek Quarry Action Group & RFS
5 Pre McGee – Seaham Community, Seaham Park Wetlands & Red Cross
5 Bronwyn White -Seaham Community Local Resident, VOWW, BHSA
6 James Moore -Brandy Hill Community VOWW & BHSA
7 Delegate – Mindaribba Local Aboriginal Land Council
8 Cr Paul Le Mottee (nominated delegate) Port Stephens Shire Council
9 Alternate: Chantel Parslow Redman – Seaham Community, VOWW & BHSA

BHSA stands by its submission primarily objecting to 24/7, the huge increase in truck traffic and the inadequacy of the main transport routes for the safety of drivers,  riders, pedestrians and school buses. If we had visited the quarries in the southern highlands beforehand, our objections would have been even stronger regarding the above aspects, and much stronger on the issues of noise and dust emanating from the quarry site. The Holcim quarry has enclosed all crushing and conveying machinery to supress noise and dust at the source; no such measures are proposed for Brandy Hill.

MCQAG UPDATE

At the last meeting in Paterson in February, Daracon had advised MCQAG that a social impact consultant had been engaged to assist in the consultation process and advise Daracon on how they should respond to submissions. Members were skeptical that anything would be achieved, but will work with the consultant in good faith. (This is similar to Hanson engaging Key Insights).

The land and environment court  judge in the DSC vs Daracon case has still not handed down a verdict.

A Power Point presentation on the southern highlands quarry trip is nearing completion. A draft copy was provided to Neil, to show PSC what can be done to improve roads and  intersections, supress noise and dust and reduce negative impacts on social amenity and safety, when a quarry operator truly is concerned for the community in which they operate.

Next Steps

If there are any Hanson Quarry issues that you would like to have discussed in General Business at the upcoming CCC meeting (Friday 9th March), please contact us through this website.

 

 

 

 

 

November 2017 Update on Hanson’s EIS

In this post:

  1. A summary of the benchmarking visit to Holcim and other quarries in the Marulan area in August
  2. Meeting with Hanson’s Social Impact Assessment  (SIA) Consultant in September
  3. Hanson’s October letter following the SIA Meeting
  4. Next steps – December

 

  1. Visit to Holcim and other quarries in the Marulan area.

At the end of August, Neil Ritchie joined a delegation from MCQAG for a 2 hour on-site tour of the Holcim quarry near Marulan, and to also inspect the road transport routes of the other quarries in the area. Read Neil’s notes from the trip:  Holcim Lynwood Quarry tour
The trip was to understand the efforts these quarries have taken/are taking to mitigate the social impacts of quarry operations and transport on local communities.

The Holcim quarry was very impressive. It is the closest of the quarries to a town – Marulan.  It uses enclosed “wet” processes to minimise dust and noise emissions in all crushing and conveying operations. There was no visible dust and negligible noise during our site tour, even though the primary crusher and all other operations were in progress. This is very different from Hanson’s current and proposed operations!
Even though the majority of Holcim’s output goes by rail, they constructed a private haul road linking to a new Hume highway interchange which Holcim built (estimated cost over $40m), so that no road trucks would travel on local roads or pass through the residential area of Marulan.
Holcim even voluntarily built night time lighting screens, estimated to have cost millions, in order to preserve the rural amenity for the Towrang community many kilometres to the west across the valley.
There are few farm residences which are close to the quarry and affected by blasting, but if those residents have any concerns or complaints, Holcim send representatives to the resident’s home in order to experience the effects of subsequent blasts for themselves, and not just rely on instrument readings. Holcim also have a very generous community contribution scheme.
Understandably, Holcim have a very good relationship with local communities, and only need to hold CCC meetings twice a year!

Similarly,  Gunlake quarry, which recently gained approved for an expansion using only road transport, upgraded about 10km rural road so their trucks can avoid the township of Marulan. The Boral quarry uses mainly rail, and the small proportion going via roads does not pass any residential areas. The Bungonia quarry built a private by-pass road around Bungonia, and is widening and upgrading about 20km of rural roads to the “Holcim” interchange. That quarry is limited to 5 truckloads per day until the road upgrades are completed.

The MCQAG delegates concluded that it is totally unacceptable for the Martins Creek quarry to send any trucks through the village of Paterson and the roads and bridges on all the haul routes, including along Brandy Hill Drive, are totally inadequate. Martins Creek has a rail siding – use it!
You can draw your own conclusions about whether Hanson’s EIS for 24/7 operations to 1.5mtpa at Brandy Hill, has taken any real consideration for the amenity of local residential communities!

2. Meetings with Hanson’s SIA Consultant.

There had been no interaction with Hanson since the DPE meeting in Raymond Terrace in April, until Hanson advised the appointment of  Ellen Davis-Meehan of Key Insights Pty Ltd. Key Insights were to assist Hanson in responding to the submissions, in particular with the social impact assessment aspects.

On 15th September, Ellen visited the quarry and also met with residents of Giles Road. Then, Lisa Andrews the independent CCC chairperson, conducted a meeting attended by Ellen, the community members of the CCC and other residents of Brandy Hill.

The minutes and Ellen’s Key Insights meeting notes were made available only recently: Finalised minutes from Community Forum
Notes from Key Insights

We seemed to get a good hearing, which reiterated the concerns expressed in the many objecting responses to the EIS, and noted what we had learned from the quarries near Marulan. The report that Key Insights provided to Hanson has not been made available.

3. Hanson’s letter.
We were all hoping that Key Insights might produce some meaningful compromises from Hanson, particularly on the three major issues that will detrimentally impact the amenity and safety of our community: 24/7 operations, greatly expanded truck numbers, and the lack of paths, bus stops and adequate roads etc .
Read Hanson’s letter dated 24th October for yourselves: Letter from Hanson

As you will have read, there is nothing in the letter that offers anything on the two most concerning issues: 24/7 and greatly increased truck volumes, and little on the other matters.
Hanson continues to say they already have 24/7, but there is a large element of dishonesty in that claim. Hanson are taking the phrase in condition 4 of PSC’s consent that says “The applicant is to undertake all those environmental protection measures outlined in the environmental impact statement…” to not include the section of the EIS that says: “Extraction and processing operations will be carried out in daylight hours 6:00am to 6:00pm, Monday to Saturday.” I think you would agree that hours of operation are very much an “environmental protection measure”. This is another example of Hanson’s disregard of the social impact of their existing and planned expanded operations. Hanson were never granted 24/7 by PSC. Hanson are making this claim to justify the existing early morning dispatches and to pressure the DPE into formalising extended the quarry’s operating hours.

The community members of the CCC reviewed the letter and agreed that there was still no willingness on Hanson’s part to make any significant compromises in their “response to submissions”. Neil phoned Andrew Driver and conveyed our disappointment in his letter. For the first time since the CCC was convened a Hanson representative then asked “What do you want?” I referred Andrew to the BHSAG submission, where his question is clearly answered. He did not appear to have even read the document.

Andrew Driver reiterated Hanson’s approach with the EIS was to ignore community concerns and present the EIS to the DPE “on its merits”. They hoped that those merits would carry it through the DPE and PAC process and avoid involving the Land and Environment Court. His only concession was to commit to discussing the matter again with his superiors.
4. Next Steps
On 17th November, Lisa Andrews the CCC chairperson, advised “it is intended to hold a CCC meeting within the next few weeks’, on site, to discuss Ellen’s review of the Social Impact Assessment and for Hanson to provide members with an update on its response to submissions”. On Friday 24th November, Lisa further advised: “I wish to nominate Tuesday 19th December 2017 (5pm). The meeting will be held on site at Brandy Hill Quarry and a formal meeting notice and agenda will be sent out closer to the day.”

We have not RSVP’d yet, but I assume that if enough CCC members agree to attend then the meeting will proceed. BHSAG will ask again for a copy of “Ellen’s review of the Social Impact Assessment” so we can go to the meeting properly prepared.

An update on proceedings will be posted as they develop.

That is all for now on Hanson’s EIS progress.
PS There has still be no communications between Daracon and MCQAG since submissions closed on that EIS, and the Land and Environment Court still has not released its verdict on the case brought against Daracon by Dungog Shire Council.