NSW Planning’s Assessment of the BHQ Expansion Proposal

Today, the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment posted  their recommended conditions for approval of the Brandy Hill Quarry Expansion project onto their website.

We were advised with the following email from Genevieve Lucas, who has overseen this project from the beginning:

“The Department has now completed its merit assessment of the Brandy Hill Quarry Expansion Project.

I have just made the recommendation live on our Major Project’s website, so it will be available either now or very shortly.

NSW Planning’s Assessment

The Department has recommended that the application could be approved, subject to strict conditions of consent. This includes limitations on operating / product transport hours.  The Department’s Assessment Report provides details of our recommendations and I encourage you to read this document as well as the recommended conditions of consent.

The application will now be considered and determined by the Independent Planning Commission of NSW. The Commission will undertake its own public engagement processes, and I encourage you to check their website for further information https://www.ipcn.nsw.gov.au/ (it might be later on today that the project is available on their website).

It’s been a number of years that we have been in touch about this application and I appreciate all the inputs and updates you have provided.

I wish you all the best for the next steps, and as always, please contact me if you have any questions.

Kind regards,
Gen

Genevieve Lucas
Team Leader

Resource Assessments, NSW Planning, Industry and Environment”

The link above provides access to three documents covering the department’s assessment. While I have not yet had time to read all the detail, a quick review and phone conversation with Genevieve enabled me make the some observations.

While everyone will have their own unique view on the proposed quarry expansion, I will limit my summary to the issues that BHSAG raised. Firstly, in its initial submission, which represented, as best we could, the consensus from the surveys and other feedback that we received from the community. The issues are listed with the most important first. later I will review the issues that BHSAG raised after Hanson provided its “Response to submissions”.

  1. Hanson wanted 24/7.
    BHSAG pushed for the current 6am to 6pm 6 days per week.

    The recommendation is much closer to what we wanted:

    A12. Truck movements at the site (ie either arrival or dispatch) must not exceed:
    (i) 18 movements between 5:00 am and 6:00 am;
    (ii) 24 movements between 6:00 am and 7:00 am;
    (iii) 60 movements per hour between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm;
    (iv) 10 movements per hour between 6:00 pm and 10:00 pm, on up to 20 evenings per calendar year; and
    (v) 600 movements per calendar day;

    1-Fullscreen capture 18-May-20 40911 PM

  2. Hanson wanted 60 loaded truck dispatches per hour.
    BHSAG pushed for 30, the current maximum. 
    Recommendation: The department has indirectly specified 30.
    See: A12 (iii) 60 movements per hour between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm (Which includes empty arrivals) 
  3. Hanson wanted to process Batching plant waste.
    BHSAG opposed it.
    Recommendation: A10. The Applicant may receive and process up to 20,000 tonnes of concrete waste material at the site in each calendar year.

  4. BHSAG pushed for a significant increase in the road haulage levy, to better cover the cost of maintaining the many roads used by quarry trucks.
    Outcome: I am told that the VPA with PSC includes a significant increase.

  5. BHSAG pushed for a shared pathway along Brandy Hill Drive.
    The press release from Hanson advised that they will contribute toward the pathway. The departments recommendation:
    $1.5 million towards the construction of a shared pathway along Brandy Hill Drive. Additionally, Hanson has agreed to provide all funding for the shared pathway within two years of the commencement of the Project.

  6. BHSAG pushed for additional bus bays along Brandy Hill Drive.
    Recommendation:
    In response to these concerns, Hanson has agreed to implement a VPA with Council including:
    $120,000 towards the construction of bus bays along Brandy Hill Drive, to be provided as an upfront payment of haulage levies required under Council’s contributions plan. The Department has recommended that existing product transport volumes (ie 700,000 tpa) are retained until the proposed bus bays are constructed.

    Other items that BHSAG pushed for, but  were not taken up were:
  7. Signage on Brandy Hill Drive regarding school children and “40 when lights flash”.
  8. Pedestrian crossing refuges on Brandy Hill Drive, near all side streets.
  9. Speed limit reduction to 60kph on Brandy Hill Drive and on Clarence Town Road near the quarry entrance. (Note that Clarence Town Road has recently been reduced to 80kph.
  10. Easily read truck ID, so that trucks breaking the “code of conduct” are more easily identified and reported. (This item will be discussed further at CC meetings).
  11. A system of monitoring trucks for noisy engine/exhausts.

Issues Subsequent to the above initial submission, BHSAG advised the department in November 2018 that Hanson’s Response to Submissions continued to be grossly inadequate. The concerns raised then and the current outcomes are summarised below.
Reject 24/7. There must be an overnight curfew of despatch and crushing.
Outcome: Largely success. See above.

Mandate the provision of safety and amenity infrastructure (separate from the haulage levy) for footpaths and bus stops.
Outcome: Bus bays must be built before Hanson exceeds the current output limit. 
The Shared pathway must be funded within two years of the commencement of the new consent (irrespective of tonnage). Genevieve’s expectation is that PSC will expedite the construction over say 5 years.

 Ensure the haulage levy covers all council road routes through PSC and MCC.
Outcome. Maitland Council is pursuing a VPA covering a haulage levy on MCC roads.
PSC have an agreed VPA with Hanson.

 Increase the haulage levy because multiple haulage routes are used. PSC has to maintain over 30km of haul roads, and not just the 12km to the nearest state road at Raymond Terrace. The paltry ~$400,000 pa does not cover anywhere near the cost of maintaining that length of road where the vast majority of heavy vehicles are, and will increasingly be, fully laden quarry trucks. Note that our surveys and casual observation indicate that fewer than 15 heavy non gravel trucks use Brandy Hill Drive daily. So the proportion of the 718 daily gravel trucks on that route will be the vast majority.
Outcome: I understand there is a significant increase in the levy in the VPA with PSC.

 Mandate dust and sound attenuation enclosures on all processing equipment from stage 1. 
Outcome: I understand that all crushing equipment will be enclosed.

Conclusion

My initial appraisal of the department’s assessment, in terms of the issues raised by BHSAG, is that we have been successful to a much larger degree than expected. While not all our wishes are granted, the big ticket items of limiting hours of operation and hourly truck numbers, providing safety and amenity infrastructure in the bus bays and a pathway, and ensuring local councils are better funded to maintain our roads, have all been largely addressed.

BHSAG’s next challenge will be to present to the IPC, to ensure that the department’s recommendations are not watered down to appease Hanson, and where there are deficiencies, we will  continue to push for conditions closer to what our community wants.

The BHSAG committee will need a little time to fully understand the department’s assessment, and decide on our next steps. We will keep you informed on that and the IPC timetable.

That’s all for now.

 

 

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.

 

Protection of koalas – NSW Parliament Inquiry

This was received today from our local NSW member (who is the shadow Minister for  Environment and Heritage).  It is repeated here for its relevance to koala and other potential habitat loss from not only quarry expansions but general development.  Don’t leave it to other concerned people to make submissions. Only you can say what you want to tell the inquiry, so act soon.

 

Dear friends,

The NSW Parliament is currently holding an inquiry into the protection of koalas in NSW, including the impact of the Berejiklian government’s land clearing laws on koala habitats across NSW.

 I encourage you to make a submission to the inquiry to ensure that the committee members have the best understanding of the current threats to our native koala population, especially in Port Stephens.

I am pleased that former Shadow Minister for the Environment Penny Sharpe is a member of the Committee. Penny has visited Port Stephens many times and is very familiar with the issues we have had with the Mambo Wetlands and UrbanGrowth site at Fishermans Bay.

Submissions to the inquiry close on 2 August 2019.

You can read more about the inquiry and make a submission here: https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/committees/inquiries/Pages/inquiry-details.aspx?pk=2536

Kind Regards,
Kate

Kate Washington MP
Shadow Minister for Environment and Heritage
Shadow Minister for Rural Health
Member for Port Stephens
82 Port Stephens Street, Raymond Terrace NSW 2324  | 

P (02) 4987 4455    F (02) 4987 4466   
E
portstephens@parliament.nsw.gov.au

PS Wecome to the new people now following our website!

V.O.W.W. Mayor to speak at AGM Meeting 19th September

The VOWW AGM will be held at the Woodville School of Arts Hall on Paterson Rd next Wednesday from 6:30pm. The Mayor, Ryan Palmer will speak first about his initial term in office and the council’s vision for West Ward.

Please come along, renew your membership or join VOWW and support the community organisation. The attached flyer explains more about the organisation and it’s goals, and also more about the meeting.

We hope you can make it.

2018-09 VOWW flyer DRAFT3

 

On 16th August, have your say on the proposed PSC rate rise

This note is from the Seaham Park & Wetlands Committee.

Hi Everyone

HAVE YOU GOT 10 MINUTES?   DROP IN.   HAVE YOUR SAY.   ASK QUESTIONS.  THURSDAY THIS WEEK.

Port Stephens Council will bring its proposal and the reasons for the planned increase in our rates,  from 4pm – 6pm on Thursday 16th August at Seaham Hall.  Not just Seaham, East Seaham, Glen Oak, Wallalong, Hinton, Dunns Creek but the whole Council area will be covered by this rate rise.

Please come along and meet Council staff, Mayor and local Councillors and drop in and have your say.  You are paying the rates and therefore it is your money.  Drop in anytime between 4pm and 6pm.

If we are to pay extra rates then the extra funds should be spent in our local area and not be spent in the Nelson Bay area.  A $10 million multistorey car park at Nelson Bay is not in our local area.

A think-tank of Seaham and district locals have come up with some suggestions of what Council could do with the extra rate revenue in our area:

–         A shared pathway for bikes and walkers along Brandy Hill Drive.

–         The Brandy Hill Drive pathway to extend alongside Seaham Road and connect with the pathway at Brandon Park which goes to Seaham School.  This would take children and cyclists off much of Seaham Road.

–         A bus shelter for the school children outside Seaham School.

–         Outdoor gym equipment for Seaham Park.

–         A path from Seaham Shop to the Preschool to take bikes and pedestrians off busy Cross Street and Torrence Street.

–         A path along the eastern side of Dixon Street to take pedestrians and bikes off the road and allow easier access for cars going to Still Street to drop off and collect school children from the main entrance of Seaham School.

–         A zebra crossing (pedestrian crossing) outside the Seaham Shop.

–         Seal all gravel roads.

You may have other suggestions.  Let Council know.

For more information visit www.portstephens.nsw.gov.au

Come along.  Have your say.  Ask questions. 

Seaham Park & Wetlands Committee

PSC Forward planning information session

Here is another community matter of importance.

Some months ago I was invited, along with John Redman from VOWW, to attend a briefing session put on by the mayor. The meeting dealt with community expectations and wishes for the next planning stage.

The meeting was very productive and this is now stage 2 of that process. If you want a say in your area please consider going to this meeting.

Community Consultation – How do we want our West Ward: Seaham, Butterwick, Wallalong, Woodville etc to look like, feel like, lifestyle.

22EA1FF9-4FDD-4598-8BE8-9EE8E05E7445

Optus Tower Seaham – Petition

Dear Community

We have had several requests to alert the community to the proposal outlined below.  Being a community issue we agreed to post it on our website.

RE: installation of a mobile phone base station at 86 Warren Street, Seaham NSW 2324 (Lot 50 DP 752487).
Comment on the proposal:

Please be aware the consultation period has been extended and will now close on
Friday 13th April 2018.

Optus has recently put in a proposal to construct a mobile phone base station in Seaham. The tower is proposed to be constructed in very close proximity to two residential dwellings (just over 40m away), a preschool, public school and burgeoning residential community.

They are also flagging alternative locations:
– on the same property, but further up the hill
– erecting it somewhere at Brandy Hill Quarry
– Erecting in on a hill in East Seaham

The proposed installation at any of the locations may:
have a negative Socio-economic impact.
Health: Health concerns due to RF exposure, even limited or low exposure can cause concern to some individuals. Stress or uncertainty about the impacts of emissions can also cause considerable stress and health (and mental health) issues.
Social Amenity impacts: including aesthetic concerns and visual unattractiveness
Property Value decreasing: due to the above concerns.
Of interest to note:
Espionage Concerns:

Optus intends to use Huawei Equipment in the Tower. The Federal Government is currently trying to prevent the use of Huawei Equipment due to concerns that it is capable of interference for espionage purposes.
Why we need to raise our concerns:

Communication with the Seaham community as a whole has been inadequate and communication and involvement with the public and appropriate stakeholders at all stages of the decision making processes should be addressed.
The Seaham area and its surrounds have high social value and include local and regional natural conservation areas (Hunter Estuary Wetlands, Stockton Sand Dunes), engaged and dynamic rural communities, businesses and schools. The installation of the mobile phone bases station either at Warren St, the Brandy Hill Quarry or along Giles Rd will impact on Seaham and its surround negatively.
The Brandy Hill Quarry is currently already in consultation with the community, Council and relevant authorities regarding major development changes. Adding a mobile base station to the Quarry property may further impact potential health concerns, social amenity objections and affect the local community and land values.

Who to write to:

Further information about this proposal is available from:
Optus c/- CommPlann:   www.rfnsa.com.au Site No.2324021
edwinar@commplan.com.au
02 93633813

Comment on the proposal: Please be aware the consultation period has been extended and will now close on Friday 13th April 2018.

Address: Optus c/-CommPlan Pty Ltd
PO Box 267, Edgecliff NSW 2027
Website: http://www.rfnsa.com.au/2324021
Email:edwinar@commplan.com.au

Support Info about mobile hone stations, codes, health, your rights, state planning laws etc:
http://www.commsalliance.com.au/mobile-phone-tower-information

Candidates For PSC Elections

Do you know anything about the candidates for the upcoming PSC elections? The new mayor and in particular, the elected councillors for west ward, will potentially have a huge impact on our area in coming years. Your vote is important towards ensuring we get the best possible elected representatives.

VOWW is organising a “meet the candidates”night and BHSAG encourages you to come along.

Wednesday 23rd August

7pm at the Woodville School of Arts Hall, on Paterson Road beside the Iona Public School.

All mayor and west word candidates have been invited. We will post more details of who is coming when that is known. Some have already promised they will be there.

Each candidate will speak for up to 5 minutes and there will be some more time for your questions. After the formal presentations, there will also be time for a chat with candidates over a cuppa.

So please inform your local friends and neighbours to come along and get to know the candidates, so that everyone can make an informed vote in the upcoming elections.

Neil and Margarete Ritchie

Submissions Close Today

Today is your last opportunity to lodge your submission regarding the Brandy Hill Quarry Expansion EIS. Your say will only be heard if you do lodge a submission. It will be listened to.

The Gunlake quarry expansion was refused by the PAC this week because the residents were listened to. This is your last chance regarding Brandy Hill quarry.

Thanks to everyone that has lent a hand and provided support.

The BHSAG submission went in today.

 

 

 

 

 

Council Safety Committee Meeting

2013 threw up some interesting problems for our local communities and we hope that 2014 will be the year that some of the issues can be resolved in our favour. Not only do we have to contend with the Hanson and Martin’s Creek  Quarry expansions and subdivision plans by developers,  but also with our Council which seems to close all doors when help is requested.
Quite a few residents have mentioned issues with safety on Brandy Hill Drive and with encouragement from our council representative, Peter Kafer, I presented the community concerns at a Council safety committee meeting on 4th March. I would like to thank Peter and Geoff Dingle for their unending support on getting these issues before Council.
The issues presented were:

  1. Warrigal Close intersection….. badly positioned street sign, poor line marking ( actually no line marking) to indicate the turn from Brandy Hill Dr, and the need for a light to make the road more visible at night. In addition, the inadequarte bus bay was mentioned.
  2. The post and wire safety fences which have rotted and the wire is hanging over the “footpath” area over the 2 culverts along BHDr.

    Warrigal: Poor Fences, line-marking, lighting, bus stop and signage

    Warrigal: Poor Fences, line-marking, lighting, bus stop and signage

  3. The danger for children to access the bus stops at several places along BHDr and also at the top of Sophia Jane Drive. Several parents have complained to the bus company about the primary school pick up point on the western side of Seaham road / Sophia Jane Drive intersection and the School has also put a submission to Council about the danger posed as children have to cross Seaham Road at the busiest times of the day to access the buses.

    Sophia Jane north bound stop

    Sophia Jane north bound stop

  4. The danger of walking/cycling was once again highlighted. The Council, in its planning for the heavy vehicle passing lane along Seaham Road from BHDr to Sophia Jane Drive, removed the walking track that locals had created along the fence line on the eastern side of the road. Walkers are now forced to walk along the road itself with only centimetres left between the white line and the drain/ditch. Not only that, but the original guide posts were removed around the end of BHDr BUT the holes remain and no new posts were put in place. A great tripping point for unsuspecting walkers. This is just shoddy, poor planning with the assumption that all children catching the busses at the Sophia Jane bus-stop are driven there by their parents and no-one has the right to walk safely in this area.

    Poor access to all bus stops

    Poor access to all bus stops

  5. Signs indicating wildlife corridors should be reinstated after they were removed several years ago during road works.

There were other issues discussed and if you have any pressing concerns please send them to one of our Councillors or respond to this post.

It will be interesting to see whether Council will act on any of these issues. If they don’t I suggest we bombard them with complaints.

Coincidently, the road works currently being undertaken at the western end of Brandy Hill Dr seems to be addressing concerns of some residents about poor drainage causing water sheeting danger during heavy rain and deteriorating road surface. It remains to be seen whether the bus-stop in that area has been adequately addressed.

Other recent meetings of the Community Consultative Committee and VOWW will be reported on as soon as possible.

Margarete