Quarry plans rock locals
By SONIA CAEIRO firstname.lastname@example.org THE proposed expansion of the Lismore City Council-run Blakebrook Quarry has the local community up in arms.
Alex Zychal, spokesperson for the Goolmangar Environmental Action Group, believes the increased traffic and quarry works will devastate the habitats of koalas and other native species.
"The area surrounding the council's quarry is the only local property that has a koala population," he said.
"These plans only put them at further risk."
Community concerns about the quarry's operation are not new and the group has complained to the council and the Department of Environment and Climate Change over issues relating to excessive noise and hours of operation.
The group also believes local infrastructure will suffer and nearby roads will not be able to withstand increased numbers of heavy double-load trucks.
Alf Werner, quarries and strategic development co-ordinator for Lismore City Council, feels the concerns are premature. Mr Werner said even he had not seen the completed documentation on the project.
"More than 90 per cent of the expansion will be downward with minimal lateral growth," he said.
"We're very aware of koala habitat issues and protecting the corridor. We are working with an independent assessor, Environmental Resources Management, to address these issues. The council is also spending over $150,000 in planting and rehabilitating denuded areas as well as improvements to local roads and upgrades to sections of Nimbin Road."
Mr Werner believes the entire process has been conducted in a transparent, at-arms-length, fashion.
William Weir, of ERM, said an environmental assessment was under way to address the issues raised by the Goolmangar Action Group and others.
Information still being collated by ERM includes input from the Department of Primary Industries, Departments of Lands, Departments of Conservation and various community and environment groups.
Data is due to be submitted to the NSW Planning Minister Frank Sartor by late April, to be followed by a period of public consultation.