Sand mine opponents press for more time

DEADLINE LOOMS: Save Our Sands members Anthony Turnbull, Ian Turnbull, Maria Firriolo, Greg Marrero, Tony Grasso, Val Turnbull, Angela Grasso and Bernadette Lawlor. The group wants more time to frame a submission.
DEADLINE LOOMS: Save Our Sands members Anthony Turnbull, Ian Turnbull, Maria Firriolo, Greg Marrero, Tony Grasso, Val Turnbull, Angela Grasso and Bernadette Lawlor. The group wants more time to frame a submission.

A local action group wants more time to respond to a proposed sand mine at Sutton Forest.

Save Our Sands member Bernadette Lawlor said group members had concerns about the short amount of time they had to respond to the environmental impact statement on public exhibition.

“They only give us four weeks to respond - to read the document and then digest it, and then work out a plan,” she said.

“It’s very unfair. It’s stacked against the big man who has had seven years to get this document together, and we have four weeks to respond.”

The proposal went on public exhibition on Thursday, May 24. Submissions can be made until Thursday, June 21. The group is concerned about air, water and noise pollution, adverse health effects, impact on native flora and fauna, increased traffic on the Hume Highway and the impacts on tourism.

The location for the proposed sandstone quarry is west of the Hume Highway.

It’s stacked against the big man who has had seven years to get this document together, and we have four weeks to respond.

Bernadette Lawlor

Sutton Forest Quarries Pty Ltd commissioned geological and environmental consultants RW Corkery & Co Pty Ltd to prepare the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Department of Planning and Environment. According to the EIS, an estimated 34 million tonnes of friable sandstone has been defined within the site, capable of yielding approximately 21 million tonnes of high-quality sand products during the first 30 years of a projected 45-year operation that would ultimately yield approximately 29 million tonnes. The statement proposes an extraction area covering approximately 47 hectares, and a processing and stockpiling area covering approximately 12 hectares.

Approximately 63.2 hectares of native vegetation would be progressively removed within the disturbance areas of the site.

The EIS included details on traffic and transport, groundwater and surface water, noise and vibration, terrestrial ecology, aquatic ecology, Aboriginal cultural heritage, historic, air quality, land and soil capability, visibility, agricultural resources, bush fire risk and socio-economic factors. The surface water assessment in the EIS identified that the proposal could potentially impact surface water flow rates, surface water flow volumes and surface water quality directly or indirectly once it left the site.

The proposed quarry will create approximately 20 full-time jobs, and approximately 50 contractors transporting quarry product.

The Save Our Sands action group will host a public meeting at St Paul’s Primary School Hall at Garrett Street in Moss Vale at 6.30pm on Friday, June 15.

The purpose of the meeting will be to provide information about the proposed sandstone quarry and organise responses to the proposal.

Ms Lawlor encouraged anyone with concerns to get involved with the group.

Visit www.majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au to view the details of the proposal.

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