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Local council fires legal salvo at quarry

The council?s director of planning and environmental services Michael Silver said council had engaged the services of an environmental lawyer to draft a Notice and Order for Gunnedah Quarry Products (GQP), a subsidiary of the Mackellar group.
GQP managing director Brendon Mackellar said his company has tried at all times to ensure that it operates within its consent conditions. GQP currently has applications before council to modify those conditions and extend the operation at the quarry to ensure that it can continue to meet the growing demand for quarry products in the region.
Part of the extension application involves GQP spending millions of dollars on upgrading local roads and paying substantial royalties to Gunnedah Shire Council as well as maintaining and growing its workforce and providing ongoing benefits to the local community.
MacKellar was confident that having a local company supplying local gravel needs was a win-win situation. On the other hand, he said if gravel was brought into the Shire from other regions, the community would bear the cost of road maintenance yet get none of the direct and indirect benefits.
Quarrel over daily truck movements
There is an ongoing issue between GQP and the Mary?s Mount Protection Alliance (MMPA) which has expressed concerns that the developer has exceeded its allowed number of daily truck movements and that the annual tonnage extracted from the quarry under the original Development Application (DA) and consent has been exceeded.
Silver told a monthly council meeting that it appeared GQP may have been operating outside its consent and put several recommendations to council. Based on the recommendations, council decided to give 14 days? notice to GQP of its intention to serve an Order under Section 121B of the Environment Planning and Assessment Act requiring the developer to operate the extractive industry licence in accordance with the Notice of Determination in respect of the DA within 40 days of the date of the Order.
As part of the order, GQP will be required to provide a volumetric survey from a registered surveyor relating to the cubic metre extraction of material from the site, post 25 February, 2013, with the report to be provided to council within 30 days of the issue date of the Order.
Council allocated $10,000 for legal advice and services in the preparation of the Notice and Order.
Local residents Trish Conway, Darryl Lush and Phil Herbert have expressed concerns over the impact on their rural lifestyle, the hazards of heavy trucks sharing inadequate roads with local vehicles and what they claim is an excessive number of truck movements to and from the site, particularly during school bus operation hours.
Council was asked to ascertain if the developer had already exceeded the maximum tonnage allowed under the consent.
Quarry has approached Bruce Mackellar for further comment and is still awaiting his response at time of press.
Sources: Namoi Valley Independent

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