The application related to Bullsbrook sand quarry, located at a 162ha site in Perth, Western Australia.
When first applying to establish the quarry, operator Urban Resources anticipated that sales would start out slow. For that reason, the business proposed an initial production rate of 150,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) for the first two years and a maximum rate of 500,000 tpa for the remainder of the quarry’s approximately 12-year life.
This proposal was approved but a condition of the quarry’s licence was that an additional transport assessment would need to be completed if the operator wished to exceed 150,000 tpa.
Not long after commencing operations, Urban Resources began to experience strong demand, and as a result, it sought permission from the City of Swan to increase to the maximum approved rate.
“This is a valuable resource able to service large areas of the City of Swan and not unexpectedly the demand appears to [be] quite high for sand from this site,” Urban Resources’ expansion application stated.
The business undertook the required traffic assessment and submitted to the council that the road infrastructure had been adequately upgraded to meet the truck movement requirements for 500,000 tpa of production.
Despite this, in July 2013, the council voted unanimously to reject the application based on advice from Main Roads WA that the additional heavy vehicle movements could “downgrade the level of service” of the roads in that area and “engender adverse traffic safety implications”.
Following this decision, Urban Resources took its application to the WA State Administrative Tribunal (SAT), which subsequently invited the council to reconsider its position. Although City of Swan officers recommended conditional approval of the application, the council ultimately resolved on 4 February, 2015 to refuse the application and advise the WA Planning Commission to do the same.
“The increase in truck movements along the local road network will adversely impact the rural amenity of the locality,” the council’s meeting minutes stated.
The matter will now progress to a scheduled hearing in the SAT.