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Quarry operator seeks to reduce ?surplus? land holding

Boral has applied to reconfigure nine of the existing lots on its 381ha property in Adelaide, South Australia, which also contains the Stonyfell Quarry.

Stonyfell Quarry opened in 1837 and has been owned and operated by Boral since the 1930s (Boral traded under the name Quarry Industries for the initial part of its ownership). Today, the quarry supplies slate, stone, sand and crushed aggregate to the Adelaide market.

The quarrying operation is estimated to cover approximately one third of the Adelaide property, with the remaining land described by an application document as being “relatively undeveloped and heavily vegetated”.

“The land is surplus and does not contain any resource,” a Boral spokesperson confirmed to Quarry, adding that the proposal would have no impact on the company’s existing quarry operations.

Realignment benefits

It was said the “excess” land posed “an ongoing management and potential liability issue” for Boral. “[A major public road that cuts through the land] is regularly used by members of the general public for bushwalking, moto-cross and other recreational activities not authorised by Boral,” the application document explained.

It added that divesting the land for residential development presented a number of benefits. “[Residential sites would] be more readily and economically serviced, with lesser cost to the community, with reduced native vegetation clearance and reduced bushfire risk, and [would only have] a low to moderate impact on the natural character [of the area],” the document read.

“Moreover, the realignment of allotments also better protects the construction materials resources quarried from the land by ensuring potential residential development sits outside of Boral’s preferred 500m quarry buffer.”

Application progress

Boral submitted the boundary realignment application in mid-2014 after identifying which areas of land might be suitable for residential development, but due to the fact that the property was positioned across two local council areas – that of Adelaide Hills Council and the City of Burnside – the state’s Development Assessment Commission (DAC) was appointed as the relevant authority in November later that year.

Both councils recommended the DAC refuse the application. Adelaide Hills Council cited reasons including concerns about building housing in a high bushfire risk area and visual impacts for the surrounding region, while the City of Burnside stated that related road upgrades would be “a significant cost to the community”.

At a meeting held late last month, the DAC resolved to defer the decision to allow Boral to consider suggested proposal amendments and in order to gain further clarification from the councils on land division requirements.

It is believed the quarry could remain operational for a further 100 years, and the Boral spokesperson stated, “Stonyfell Quarry is an important resource in the Boral portfolio.”

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