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Council revises quarry rehabilitation to pacify community concerns

The Hornsby Shire Council has altered its parklands rehabilitation plan for an inactive quarry in a bid to save more tree life and preserve dramatic cliff faces left behind by the eight-decade operation.

The local authority has responded to 46 submissions about its proposed $25 million rehabilitation project for the Hornsby Quarry, located on the upper north shore of Sydney.

It comes after the completion of the first stage of remedial works in January when the final truckload of soil from the NorthConnex tunnel project was placed into the pit. Over an 18-month period – from the middle of 2017 to late 2018 – more than one million cubic metres of clean fill was tipped into the quarry, the equivalent of 450 Olympic swimming pools.

Since then the council has worked with consultants to lodge a development application with an environmental impact statement for the next stage of works to re-shape and stabilise the site. It aims to deliver a safe landform that can be used for various parkland activities.

The document has been out for public consultation, and the council has subsequently made revisions to its plan in response to community concerns.

“As a result of concerns raised, we have made some changes and have been able to further reduce the extent of works that will be undertaken on-site to create Hornsby Park,” a council spokesperson said.

The key revisions of the plan include:

  • Reduced extent of earthworks which preserves more trees across the site.
  • A lower solution for landform within the quarry, which preserves more of the dramatic cliff faces on all sides, including the eastern diatreme feature.
  • A shorter construction timeframe, down from 24 months to 21 months, and reduced impacts associated with construction.

“Importantly, we are still on track to deliver the first stage of the parkland creation in 2023, turning the local landmark into a spectacular new open space for the community to enjoy,” the spokesperson said.

Hornsby Quarry is a former breccia hard rock quarry that was operated from the early 1900s to the late 1990s. The site was closed to the public due to safety concerns and was later acquired by the council in 2002.

At one stage, the council’s parkland rehabilitation plan was thrown into doubt after the council’s $10 million operating surplus became a $2 million deficit due to the government’s redrawing of shire boundaries.

In July 2018, the New South Wales Government put the plan back on track after it committed $50 million from its state budget for the quarry’s rehabilitation.

The Hornsby Quarry Rehabilitation Works Development Application – Response to Submissions and Revised Project Scope documentation has been lodged and is available for review and comment until 13 January.

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