Quarry closure "serious impact"
THE closure of a Murwillumbah quarry that has been operating for more than 60 years could have a serious impact on a range of local businesses and may have state-wide implications, it has been claimed.
Sandercocks Quarry located on Harry's Rd, Boatharbour, shut down on June 30 after a neighbour took "noise, air and water" complaints against it to the NSW Land & Environment Court.
The court found against the complainant's bid for "the temporary or permanent closure of the quarry".
But friend and local earthmover Neil Baker said after the complainant indicated they would appeal the decision, the Sandercocks elected to shut down their business due to the prohibitive cost of further legal battles.
It is believed to be the first time the Protection of the Environment Act has been used in this way by an individual, and it has raised concerns that it has set a dangerous precedent.
Tweed Shire Council mayor Barry Longland will introduce a mayoral minute at tonight's council meeting seeking an urgent meeting with the Minister for Primary Industries to express council's concerns about the decision.
"This decision could close every quarry in NSW," Cr Longland said.
Mr Baker said the Sandercocks had spent $140,000 in court defending themselves "yet the relevant government department did not issue any summons, did not take action nor have representation".
"You would expect if there was any problems with pollution of any kind the relevant State Government department would have been involved under state law."
Mr Baker said it now appeared anyone could take a business to court for "pollution".
Murwillumbah Chamber of Commerce president Toni Zuschke said the quarry closure would have a major impact on a whole range of local businesses from earthmovers to plumbers, mechanics, farmers and haulage truck operators.