image1 image1 image1 image1 image1 image1 image1 image1 image1 image1

Residents need a say on extractive industries

SHIRE councils can merely express their position on allowing open-cut mining in their area as the final decision on a mining proponent’s application is made by the WA state government.

However, when it comes to having a say on extractive industries, local government decides whether an application to quarry materials such as gravel, stone, clay and sand will be permitted.

AHMAG welcomes the recent opportunity to comment on Toodyay Shire Council’s draft Planning Policy No 23 ‘Extraction Raw materials’ and has made a submission outlining areas of concern which the current draft does not address.

The draft makes no reference to consultation and advertising requirements for development applications.

There are numerous instances across state shires where the advertising period for submissions was ill-timed (over Christmas) or too short or was placed in an inappropriate media outlet.

In other words, residents who will be directly impacted by the application know nothing about it until after the project is passed and work commences.

The draft policy has nothing relating to any requirements for extractive industry proponents or the shire to liaise with government agencies regarding environmental issues.

Particular areas of concern are the availability of water resources, noise, dust, weeds, dieback, vibrations from trucks and blasting, land clearing and drainage which can all have a negative impact on residents and the environment.

Toodyay Shire Council has the authority to set restrictions on the number of vehicle movements and operating times and should ensure the safety of all road users and lessen the impact on residents’ amenity.

The proposed massive gravel pit at 3650 Toodyay Road Bailup first came before the Mundaring Council in late December 2017 and it is still in limbo due to Main Roads concerns about an additional 132 heavy-vehicle movements per day.

By contrast, in August 2018 Toodyay Shire Council swiftly approved Boral’s application to increase granite extraction at Cobbler Pool Road from 50,000 tonnes to 300,000 tonnes a year which resulted in many more heavy-haulage trucks on Morangup and Toodyay Roads.

Boral is still awaiting the outcome of a scheme amendment to its proposal to change the resource zoning on the granite quarry at Red Hill to include a waste ‘recycling’ facility for building rubble.

The Gidgegannup Progress Association and West Gidgegannup Landowners believe the proposal is a step towards industrialising a resource area which would allow extractive industries to evade their responsibility to rehabilitate the land once the resource has been exhausted.

It’s heartening that the majority of current Toodyay councillors are concerned about the environment and the potential negative impacts of extractive industries projects and we expect them to closely scrutinise and query proponents’ applications.

Extractive industries are here to stay and council needs to ensure that stringent conditions are applied and monitored for compliance so industry and residents can co-exist harmoniously.

Next month we will report on Chalice Gold Mines’ recent discovery of a vast resource of nickel-copper palladium sulphide in the Julimar area near Toodyay.

As with all community organisations at this time, AHMAG has had its wings clipped in terms of fundraising activities so please consider becoming a member. It’s as cheap as chips, only $10 a year.

joomla templatesfree joomla templatestemplate joomla

Copyright 2014 AHMAG