Ratepayers foot bill for quarry fight

Sunshine Coast Regional Council rejected a proposal by Parklands Blue Metal to quarry 500,000 tonnes of rock at Yandina Creek Road in October this year, finding the development didn?t fit with the area?s ?character and amenity?.

According to Coolum News, the council rejected Parkland?s application after it received 4979 submissions opposing the project.

As Parkland has lodged an appeal against the decision, the council says it expects a ?long and drawn out? legal challenge. The company believes its project complies with all planning schemes, and is in fact an ?important community resource that needs to be developed?.

If the proposed development were to go ahead, Parkland?s quarry would employ between 8 and 10 people, plus 20 truck drivers, six days per week for 60 years.

In a press release, Parklands Blue Metal argued that the construction industry in South East Queensland would ?severely suffer? if more independent operators aren?t encouraged to run quarries.

?We have done everything right and by the book,? said Parklands Blue Metals Neil Mansell. ?We have worked within local and state planning schemes which, since 1985, have zoned this area for extractive industries and we have put forward an application that addresses all key areas of operations, including environmental impacts and controls.?

Mansell argues that the hard rock resource diorite is in short supply on the Sunshine Coast. Diorite is a material used in concrete, asphalt, road cover aggregates and marine applications. The quarry operator claims that each person uses about 10 tonnes of quarry material per person per year and if the resource isn?t available locally the community can ?kiss affordable housing goodbye?.

?The materials that will be sourced from this site will also provide many major local community projects with durable and valuable construction materials that are needed for construction, infrastructure and vital services,? said Mansell.
?There is a compelling need for this product, and most importantly, it can be sourced locally without trucking aggregates in from quarries further afield.?

The council, however, is determined to defend its position in the Queensland Planning and Environment Court. Councillor Vivien Griffen said she wasn?t surprised that Parklands disputed the decision, with at least two quarries previously taking the council to court.

“It is part of the Sustainable Planning Act process, so councils just have to grit their teeth and it is ratepayers’ money that is used to fight these court cases but it is part of the rights of applicants to contest council decisions,” Cr Griffin told the ABC.

Yandina Creek Progress Association president Alex Watson told the Coolum News Parkland Metal Blue?s continued fight was disappointing.

“We are disappointed (Parklands) do not understand the community and the council have said it is inappropriate,” he said.

One resident, Austin Smith, told the station that the area, which was identified as a key resource area 20 years ago, is no longer suitable for extractive industries.

“The rural residential development in this area that’s been allowed to move forward, it’s just not compatible any more,? said Smith. “Maybe once upon a time it was, it’s now not compatible and that’s really the key to this whole issue.”

Source: ABC; Coolum News

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