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Brisbane council resists calls to close metropolitan quarry

The Brisbane City Council has no intention of closing its century-old Mt Coot-tha Quarry within five years, despite pressure from the Queensland Greens Party.

The State MP for Maiwar Michael Berkman has joined three Green council candidates calling on the local authority to close the quarry by 2025 and deliver a closure and rehabilitation plan by the end of 2020.

The quarry has been operated by the Brisbane City Council (BCC) since 1926 and is considered an important strategic asset for Brisbane, supplying localised, cost-effective, high quality asphalt aggregate for roads and infrastructure.

The site has Key Resource Area designation and is protected by the State Government as a significant state resource. More than 96 per cent of roads in Brisbane are built with asphalt aggregates from the quarry. It sits on approximately 26ha and produces about 400,000 tonnes each year

Donna Burns, the Greens candidate for Paddington, said the quarry site has great “potential to be a world class, beautiful, environmentally sensitive addition to the Mt Coot-tha public parklands”.

“Despite enormous community support for closing the quarry, Brisbane City Council is refusing to act. They’ve continually pushed the closure date further and further out – 1998, 2025, 2032 – without any public consultation.

“Dust, noise and vibration from the blasting is bad for the local environment and bad for the health of residents who live just metres away.”

Burns said the council’s neighbourhood plan for Mt Coot-tha includes a closing date of 2025, but the lord mayor Adrian Schrinner confirmed there is no intention of this.

“What’s more, council has no rehabilitation plan and no funds at all set aside for this huge task,” Burns added. “Council know they can source material from other nearby quarries, like Bracalba, north of Brisbane, which operate under much more appropriate environmental conditions.”

In a letter dated 9 October, Brisbane lord mayor Adrian Schrinner said the council “has no plans to close the quarry in the near future with estimated reserves likely to see the quarry remain operational for a number of years to come”.

Berkman, the first Greens representative elected to Queensland Parliament, released a report from a community forum, co-hosted by the Mt Coot-tha Protection Alliance, which he said showed the community wanted a place that supports local flora and fauna, celebrates Indigenous heritage, and provides recreational opportunities for locals and tourists.

Council responds

BCC field services chair and councillor Vicki Howard told Quarry the Greens’ plan “isn’t very green at all”.

“Closing the Mt Coot-tha Quarry would mean semi-trailers need to travel further, using hundreds of thousands more litres of diesel, which is at least four times more carbon emissions,” she said.

“We have no intention of closing the quarry in the near future as the quarry has not reached its end of life.”

She said the council had a lot of experience in rehabilitating former quarry sites and will consult with the community ahead of any closures.

In response to concerns about a lack of rehabilitation funds, she said the council had a longstanding budget for quarry rehabilitation which is currently going towards Pine Mountain. Following that, it will then be directed for the Mt Coot-tha rehabilitation.

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