A controversial sand mine project at Lennox Head could eventually become a lake to rival Lake Ainsworth.
A controversial sand mine project at Lennox Head could eventually become a lake to rival Lake Ainsworth. Planners North

Sand mine could create new lake bigger than Lake Ainsworth

PLANS are being finalised for a project that could see 200,000 cubic metres of sand extracted from a Lennox Head quarry every year for the next 25 years.

A total of 3.2 million tonnes of sand could be extracted if the proposal is approved by Ballina Shire Council.

The proposal has met with opposition from nearby residents on Ross Lane and Newrybar Swamp Rd, who have organised a public meeting to be held this week.

A Facebook page has been set up for the event.

Organisers posted: "The aim of the meeting is to discuss the proposed sand mine, the government approval process it will go through and specifically how, as concerned residents, we can take action to oppose this inappropriate development.

"If this is approved it could mean up to 440 extra trucks on Ross Lane per day from 8am to 6pm. There are environmental concerns, namely acid sulphate soil poisoning out water ways.

"We still have time to stop this."

But according to Planners North, which is working on the environmental impact statement on behalf of McGeary Quarries, the approach has been to contemplate the "end use" of the site, located on Newrybar Swamp Rd.

The site already has approval for sand mining and the proposal would intensify the operations.

Once mining is finished, the aim is to provide a "recreational precinct of regional importance" by filling in the excavation with water to create a new lake for water-based recreation and camping.

"The end result will be the effective creation of a freshwater lake ... which will provide improved habitat for flora and fauna in the locality (particularly aquatic birds)," the Planners North website states.

"The progressive extraction of sand from the site will result in an excavation that will ultimately fill with water and comprise a large water body, akin to Lake Ainsworth.

"Whilst most of the lake perimeter will be regenerated as habitat area, parts will remain accessible managed parkland suitable for the future recreation and access purposes.

"These managed parkland areas present opportunities for future use as camping areas, public recreation and environmental education purposes.

"The end result will be a fresh water lake, about 2-3 times the size of Lake Ainsworth which not only functions as a significant and resilient environmental habitat for local flora and fauna ... but also as a valuable community recreational and educational asset."

  • The public meeting about plans to increase sand mining on Newrybar Swamp Rd will be held at Club Lennox in Stewart St, Lennox Head, from 6pm on Friday.


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