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Martins Creek quarry project expansion halted

Martins Creek Quarry

The expansion of the Martins Creek gravel quarry has been prevented by the New South Wales Independent Planning Commission (IPC).

The original proposal involved the extraction of 1.1 million tonnes of material per annum from the site, comprising of andesite hard rock, expansion into new extraction areas and the consolidation of existing operations and approvals, according to the NSW Government State Significant Development portal.

The operation, operated by Daracon, will be unable to increase the scale and rate of extraction, due to “unreasonable and unacceptable impacts for the communities along the proposed haulage route,” as the IPC said.

Daracon has previously accepted the community and the Department’s suggestions in revising its proposal from 1.5 million tonnes to 1.1 million tonnes and reducing road transport volumes, refining operational hours, a reducing disturbance footprint, with a shorter approval term.

The IPC decision was made due to the impacts of road haulage, with the proposed expansion resulting in the operation extracting 450,000 tonnes of gravel a year, generating up to 160 truck movements a day from the site.

The decision to refuse the project by the commission was influenced by the run on effects on the community, due to the necessary work of the quarry, as the IPC notes.

“Increased truck movements through the main street of Paterson and to a lesser degree, Bolwarra and Bolwarra Heights, had impacts on residential amenity, tourism, local businesses and road and pedestrian safety,” the IPC said in the Statement of Reasons report.

“The project would result in ‘significant and adverse impacts on the communities in the affected areas’.

Through the report, the Commission acknowledged that the project had strategic value and economic benefits, although additional on-site impacts were also found.

The impacts of water, air quality, noise and biodiversity impacts could have been appropriately managed, “if not for the significant off-site impacts along the road haulage route.”

The Commission concluded that the impacts of the Project, in particular the cumulative impacts of the proposed road haulage volumes are, “not in the public interest”, when consideration was given to the 25 year period over which the impacts would be experienced.

The Commission concluded that these impacts could not be sufficiently managed through the imposition of conditions, which resulted in the expansion being halted.

During the project’s period of public consultation with members of the community, over 900 objection letters and notices were lodged, with concern around the road haulage being a recurring complaint.

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