Mobile Plant

Site wins approval after opposition from nearby garden attraction

Oberon Earthmoving – the owner and operator of Middle Creek Quarries in Oberon, NSW – had originally lodged a development application (DA) with Oberon Council in March 2015. However, after later being requested to amend the DA, Oberon Earthmoving resubmitted its proposal in May 2016.

After the Western Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) approved the DA on 21 March, 2018, Middle Creek Quarries owner Zac Rowlandson told Quarry the outcome was warmly welcomed.

{{quote-A:R-W:300-I:2-Q:“It’s certainly very relieving to have an approval.”-WHO: Zac Rowlandson, Middle Creek Quarries owner}}

“It’s been a very costly, frustrating process that has taken up a lot of time and effort from all involved,” Rowlandson said. “It’s certainly very relieving to have an approval.”

Rowlandson added that work on expanding the site was currently under way, subject to statutory requirements including licence applications and construction certificates.

Expansion plans

Rowlandson confirmed the site, as per the original DA, would expand to 15ha and extraction and production would be increased to 250,000 tonnes per annum.

“We will upgrade the intersection access to the site as soon as possible and install our weighbridge,” he said. “Once completed, we will undertake construction works in the new extraction area, starting implementation of environmental controls and screening works. We have proposed a staged expansion that will largely be driven by market demand and it is not expected that we will reach capacity or completion within the next 10 years.”

Under the DA, Oberon will also import up to 25,000 tpa of raw mulch and up to 50,000 tpa of excavated natural material, with the aim to process the organic matter into high grade garden mix.

The DA approval is also expected to positively affect the long-term stability of the Oberon Earthmoving business.

“Once the initial costs of the development have been recouped, we expect the development to give Oberon Earthmoving a significant increase in revenue,” Rowlandson said. “The nature of the workload associated with this approval will solidify our stability as an employer and with a more predicable income stream, it will see the business increase both employment and local investment.”

Opponent’s future in question

As previously reported by Quarry, the strongest opponent of the proposed quarry expansion was neighbouring tourist attraction Mayfield Garden. Located approximately 5km from the quarry and one of the world’s largest privately owned cool climate gardens, Mayfield Garden owner Garrick Hawkins was quoted as saying that the garden would cease to be “viable” if the quarry’s expansion proceeded.

“Mayfield Garden will most certainly close,” Hawkins, according to the Oberon Review, told the JRPP. “I believe the tourist numbers will go down [due to potential visual, traffic and dust impacts from the quarry].”

Asked whether the Oberon business group anticipated Mayfield Gardens to appeal the JRPP’s ruling, Rowlandson said, “Hopefully not, we have undertaken extensive modification to our initial application to mitigate the concerns of Mayfield.

“We have had numerous consultations with Mr Hawkins and his team throughout this process. Again, we are confident that a sensible outcome for everyone is possible.”

Another near neighbour, Graham Turnbull, also complained to the JRPP that "never in a million years" did he anticipate having a waste processing facility at his back door. He claimed that the extension would have a substantial impact on his family and their lifestyle.

Rowlandson did not rule out further consultation with Turnbull to allay his concerns. “Mr Turnbull appears to be a very genuine man with concerns of change in his locality,” he said.

“We are very aware of his position in the area and appreciate his proximity to our operation. We would welcome more discussion with Mr Turnbull to discuss in detail the measures we have proposed to ensure he is not negatively affected.”

Oberon Earthmoving owns and operates four businesses in Oberon, NSW: Oberon Earthmoving, Oberon Concrete, Industrial Maintenance Company and Middle Creek Quarries.

More reading
Tourist garden with clout endangers quarry expansion
Quarry to expand, operate for longer
Quarry seeks to extend life as demand heats up

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

©2019 All Rights Reserved. Quarry is a registered trademark of Prime Creative Media.