The funding – which will be split three ways between the Federal Government, New South Wales Government and the quarry’s local council, Hornsby Shire – will be used to transport clean material excavated from Sydney’s proposed NorthConnex project to partially fill Hornsby Quarry.
“This is a great example of the three levels of government working together to achieve results for local residents,” Hornsby Shire mayor Steve Russell commented. “The quarry site has the potential to become a community asset unparalleled in the shire, thanks entirely to the vision and co-operation of all levels of government.”
The century-old Hornsby Quarry was acquired by Hornsby Shire Council in May 2002 after the quarry became unviable due to the poor quality of excavated material and safety concerns. Since then, a variety of suggestions have been pitched for the site’s redevelopment, such as a sports facility hub or the construction of a skyscraper in the base of the pit.
In October last year, Hornsby Shire’s councillors finally passed a unanimous vote to convert the quarry into a public recreation space, and Russell said the funding effectively “ended a decade of uncertainty about what to do with the abandoned quarry that council was forced to buy”.
The transportation of approximately one million m3 of spoil from the NorthConnex tunnelling project, which is expected to take about two years, will raise the floor of the quarry by about 45m, helping to make it safe for public access. The council plans to generate another one million m3 of spoil on-site to fill and form the pit in order to progress its rehabilitation plans.
Local MP Matt Kean, who helped secure the funding, acknowledged that there had been community concerns about the truck movements associated with the project. “There will be pain, but there will also be a lifetime gain,” he stated. “We’re currently seeking endorsement from the community to proceed. After that, we’ll go through the formal planning and approval process to make sure that any impact on the community is minimised and falls within the planning guidelines.”
Kean highlighted the importance of seizing the opportunity to address the long-term community issue of Hornsby Quarry while it was available. “The NorthConnex project is the last chance we will get for spoil of the volume required in the time required to fix this problem, once and for all. If we miss this window now, it will take another 20 to 25 years to fix, and that’s not in anyone’s interest,” he said.
Provided the plan gains community approval, work at the quarry is expected to begin as soon as excavation commences for the NorthConnex project.
“We know that developers have been circling, wanting to use the quarry for high rise development but a recreational oasis on the site is a fantastic outcome for our community,” Kean commented. “This will be the superpark of Hornsby. It will be a place where people can relax, explore and picnic. It’ll be something special for our entire region – for future generations to enjoy forever.”
Adventure experiences touted for disused quarry
Industry calls for better spoil management
Quarry tunnel a ‘golden opportunity’
Council wins valued quarry fight
Sporty end for Hornsby Quarry
Architect proposes skyscraper in pit
Residents in arms against quarry reclamation