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The Hornsby Quarry spoil management project (pictured) was recently in danger of collapse after boundary changes put the local council into deficit.
The Hornsby Quarry spoil management project (pictured) was recently in danger of collapse after boundary changes put the local council into deficit.

Transformation project salvaged after hiccup

A project to transform a historic disused New South Wales quarry into a premier parkland is back on track, after state funds “compensated” for the shrinking of a local council.

A $50 million NSW state budget allocation to rehabilitate the Hornsby Quarry are “welcome funds” after a $10 million surplus was changed into a $2 million deficit for the council following boundary changes.

“There was uncertainty about whether we could achieve the full potential offered by the site,” Hornsby Shire Council mayor Philip Ruddock said. “With these welcome funds, we will be able to create a truly spectacular new facility that will become an icon of our region.”

The council lost tens of millions in rates after the boundaries south of the M2 Motorway were redrawn.


“This project proves that quarries can have a new life, long after they have served their primary function.”
Philip Ruddock, Hornsby Shire Council Mayor

In May a council statement said: “Major long-term infrastructure projects are … at risk. As the situation currently stands, we will not be able to complete the rehabilitation of Hornsby Quarry.”

The compensation follows hard-nosed lobbying by Hornsby mayor and former Federal Attorney-General Ruddock who held the government to its word.

“It is part of a package to compensate council for the financial impact caused by the shrinking of our shire during the Government’s redrawing of boundaries,” Ruddock said.

Significantly, the quarry that provided the blue metal for the construction of Sydney’s roads is now being filled with excavated material from the NorthConnex tunnel that is being constructed to link the M1 to the M2 motorways.

The in-fill project, reportedly costing $7.33 million and jointly funded by all levels of government, is “on schedule”, despite initial delays in 2017.

Earthworks

“The last fill from the NorthConnex tunnel project is scheduled to be delivered within the next few months, and will certainly occur before the end of the year,” Ruddock said. “From then the project will mainly involve earthworks on site.”

To date, 300,000 cubic metres of  “clean fill” have been despatched to the site and another 700,000m3 will be diverted to the site.

A cross section of the Hornsby Quarry spoil management project by Roads and Maritime Services.
A cross section of the Hornsby Quarry spoil management project by Roads and Maritime Services.

The entire quarry will not be filled as there will be an amphitheatre around the lake, and other features include bushwalking and mountain bike riding.

“The most significant aspect of this project is that we are taking a vast piece of unused land next to our CBD and turning it into a 50-hectare public asset,” Ruddock said.

“For close to a century, Hornsby Quarry made a significant contribution to our local economy and it will continue giving to our community for generations to come. This project proves that quarries can have a new life, long after they have served their primary function.”

Listed on the Heritage Register of the National Estate, the Hornsby Quarry is described as the “largest volcanic neck in the Sydney area”. The geologically significant quarry boasts the largest volcanic diatreme in the Sydney area, and the east face provides a cross-section of the diatreme.

The bushland on the site is also significant and includes blue gum high forest, which is listed as an endangered ecological community.

The Higgins family cemetery is also located on the site, and is listed as a heritage item of state significance.

The quarry was operational for more than a century from the early 1900s until 2002.

More reading
Hornsby Quarry spoil upgrade commences
Quarry rehab gets environmental light
Spoil management project set to begin at Hornsby Quarry
Geologists lobby to preserve quarry rock formation

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Thursday, 18 October, 2018 02:28pm
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