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Religious group attempts to revoke quarry licence

Holy Tantra Esoteric Buddhism has written to the Southern Midlands Council and Tasmania’s Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal requesting that the permit for Williams Quarry be retrospectively revoked, according to a report from The Courier Mail.

The news comes just over a month after the council refused owner Craig Williams’ application to upgrade the Campania-based quarry to a 10,000m3 per annum operation with crushing (which was previously not allowed).

The council received three representations opposing the quarry upgrade. Among these was a submission from Holy Tantra claiming the quarry might cause vibrations that could impact its proposed park once built, and stating that the Buddhist group would seek another location for its project if the quarry expansion gained approval.

At the time, Southern Midlands Mayor Tony Bisdee stated that the loss of the Buddhist park had not been the main focus for the council’s decision, but that the quarry’s 10m distance from the neighbouring property – as well as its proximity to a number of other estates – had been a major concern.

Williams subsequently appealed the council’s decision to the state tribunal.

Ongoing opposition

The Courier Mail quoted Richard Ho of Holy Tantra as saying that the reasons the council had cited for refusing the quarry upgrade should also apply to the quarry’s existing permit. “The existence of the … quarry has already violated and infringed upon our rights as property owners, with our land being the largest victim,” Ho reportedly said in an email to the council.

A council spokesperson confirmed to Quarry that Holy Tantra had made a submission to the state tribunal – which had been passed on to all parties involved in the appeal, including the council – but declined to comment on the nature of its contents.

“Council is hopeful the matter [of the quarry upgrade refusal] can be resolved at mediation, and we do not wish to make public comment during this process,” the spokesperson said.

When asked whether he thought the Buddhist group’s request was tenable, Williams was highly sceptical, but he acknowledged that his quarrying business had suffered from the council’s rejection of his application.

“The refusal has left us with just one product, with no option to screen or crush,” he said. “Any roads I do, I will have to source fines from elsewhere, diminishing profits.”

Williams described the council’s planning process as “uneven”, especially given the fact that other similar quarries in the area had been approved without issue. “All I have wanted is a fair, level playing field,” he said.

The mediation process for Williams’ appeal is scheduled to commence on Wednesday, 8 July, 2015.

More reading
Quarry upgrade rejected due to proximity, vibrations

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