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Residents flock to oppose Rocla sandmine expansion

The $5 million sandmine expansion on the NSW Central Coast drew a crowd to a meeting of the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC). The NSW Planning Department recommended the quarry’s approval subject to a range of conditions and PAC is now considering it.

Conditions include limiting production to 400,000 tonnes per year, limiting approval to 25 years and the development of a quarry exit strategy for the post-extraction management of the site. Other conditions include operating hours and monitoring programs for noise, air and water discharges.

More than 150 people attended, with 33 speakers including residents, environmentalists and government agency representatives. For more than four hours, the panel heard a range of concerns about the development, including its impact on local water resources and indigenous cultural sites.

Tassin Barnard from Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park said the expansion would be just metres from the park’s wetland where the Gondwana Project is to be constructed. Paul Burton from the activist group Our Land Our Water Our Future has promised to fight the project in court if it gets the go ahead.

There is also concern the project could cause damage to local indigenous sites. Indigenous elder Anita Selwyn said there are many significant sites in the area that must be protected.

“The PAC will make a decision in their own time,” Rocla spokesman John Gardner said. A decision is expected before Christmas.

Sources: ABC News, Australian Mining, Rocla Quarries

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