Standing firm: Jeff Champion in front of the Champions Quarry sign at Tucki Tucki.
Standing firm: Jeff Champion in front of the Champions Quarry sign at Tucki Tucki.

Another twist in quarry saga

CHAMPIONS Quarry has ‘substantially' changed its controversial proposal to expand its Tucki Tucki operation in the middle of a court case it brought against the Lismore City Council after its development application was rejected.

The new proposal, which would result in a maximum annual extraction of 200,000 tonnes, is so different to the original application it must go back on public exhibition, along with a new Environmental Impact Study, a Lismore council workshop was told on Tuesday night.

The numerous changes include a reduction in the northern extraction area, the inclusion of Broadwater Road as a third haulage route and anupgrade of Ferry Wharf Road.

However, the quarry's owner and former Lismore mayor, Jeff Champion, said yesterday the changes were only needed because the council's solicitors were intent on turning it into a fully contested case rather than through Section 34 mediation.

“Instead of being a $100,000 or $150,000 case, it will probably turn into a half-a-million dollar case,” he said.

However, the council's manager of development and compliance, Peter Jeuken, said it was Mr Champion's decision to change the development application.

The council has set aside $100,000 in this year's budget to cover legal costs for the dispute.

A frustrated Tucki Community Against Mega Quarry chairwoman, Donna Griffiths, was yesterday dismayed at the latest twist in the saga that has gone on for a number of years.

“When will all this end?” she asked. “People's lives are being destroyed. This is a further insult to the rural residential community in Tucki.”

Mr Champion has been fighting Lismore council ona number of fronts after itrejected the original proposal in February.

The quarry, trading under the name of Reavill Farm, lost its first major battle last month when it asked the Land and Environment Court to overturn the council's decision not to retrospectivelyapprove the construction of a number of bunds that did not conform to an earlier 2006approval.

The court's senior commissioner, Tim Moore, ruled that the completed works were so different in type and location from the initial approval that it was outside his jurisdiction.

Under the new proposal, the most contentious of the bunds, known as the ‘Woolley bund', due to its close proximity to the Woolley family home, will be increased in size. Mr Champion has also asked the State Government to overrule the council's refusal by designating the expansion as a major project of State significance.

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