Council has sand 'thrown' in its face

SOUTH Ballina Sand Quarry will remove 750,000 tonnes of sand from a new quarry after the Department of Lands gave permission for it to extend and continue its operations for the next 25 years.

The proposal was objected to by Ballina Shire Council because of its potential impact on the environment.

Regulatory services group manager Rod Willis said there were not enough buffering zones for endangered ecological communities.

“We also felt it involved the removal of too many trees,” he said.

Mr Willis said that the council had been powerless to stop the proposal because the decision was made at a state level.

“It was considered to be a project of state significance, so there was no local DA requirement,” Mr Willis said.

Ballina Environment Society member Neil Denison, of Pimlico, said the State Government was riding rough-shot over the local council and community.

“The decision has been made in Sydney against the wishes of the locals,” Mr Denison said.

He said that it was not right that important decisions affecting the local community were made by the department, rather than local government.

“They haven't even been to Ballina,” he said.

Mr Denison said the environment society was concerned about the removal of vegetation and sand dunes at the site.

South Ballina Sand Quarry manager Bill Allen said that they would be starting work on the quarry on Monday.

“I don't care what they say - it's all over red rover,” Mr Allen said.

He said that the Department of Lands had made the quarry jump through 1000 hoops before approving the proposal.

“We have done everything they have asked us,” he said.

Mr Allen said there had only been one objection submitted to the department.

“One gutless person who didn't even put their name on it,” Mr Allen said.

“They have probably only been living in Ballina for two years.”

Mr Allen said that the quarry supplied sand used in concrete for houses and sewerage works, as well as the Ballina bypass.

“What do they expect people to live in? We make houses out of concrete,” Mr Allen said.

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