Soap Box

Residents rail against century-old quarry

Homeowners near the Mount Coot-tha Quarry, west of Brisbane, Queensland, have been fighting for the closure of the site, according to a recent report in The Courier Mail.

One resident, Philip Best, claimed 80 homes in the area had lost a cumulative $30 million off their value. He told the paper he had bought land in 2004 to build a $1 million home in the belief the quarry would close in 2015 but had been unable to complete it as a result of blasting.

“The ground floor contains several bad cracks which are getting worse with every strong blast,” he was reported as saying.

“All the windows cannot be finished as our engineer says that the walls may be cracked as well.

“We have staked our entire life on this house … if there is any further damage then we will lose all our money and our home.”

Best called for the closure of the quarry, saying nearby residents face “emotional trauma” every week as they wonder if the day’s blast will damage or destroy their homes.

Within guidelines

A spokesman for Brisbane City Council, which owns the quarry, was quoted as saying the site had been operational since the 1920s, long before many residents moved in.

The spokesman added the quarry conducted a maximum of two blasts a month, with each blast lasting less than 0.6 of a second.

Guidelines issued by the Queensland Government’s Department of Environment and Heritage Protection state ground vibrations in sensitive or commercial places are not to exceed 5mm/s peak particle velocity for 9 out of 10 consecutive blasts and not greater than 10mm/s peak particle velocity at any time.

A spokesman from the Department confirmed to Quarry that Mount Coot-tha Quarry had regularly submitted monitoring results that demonstrated that blast vibrations are generally well below the 10mm/s limit.

Blasts have not exceeded 11mm/s and those that have been measured above 10mm/s have occurred infrequently.

The spokesman also confirmed it was not taking any enforcement action at this stage and the quarry has installed a range of measures to minimise blast vibration.

The 30-hectare Mount Coot-tha Quarry has been operational since 1919 and produces more than 400,000 tonnes of asphalt aggregate each year.

It was put up for sale in 2013 but it is still owned today by the Brisbane City Council. It is not known what the lifetime of the resource left at the site is or if a date has been set for its closure.

Quarry approached the operators of Mount Coot-tha Quarry and Brisbane City Council for further comment but both parties declined the opportunity.

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