24.3 C
Byron Shire
September 25, 2022

Developer accused of ‘sneaking in’ mega mine proposal before Christmas

Latest News

West Byron flooding

All east coast communities are now daily regularly warned by the ABC radio/TV, by the Bureau of Meteorology, to...

Other News

Locals on top at Byron Bay’s BJJ Open

Local teams blitzed the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Spring Australian Open held at the Cavanbah Centre over the weekend. The...

Chile baloney

What a lot of baloney Will Lilley writes in saying Allende ‘brought it upon himself’ when he was overthrown...

Hundreds charged up for the Chinny challenge

Those who took the time to travel to the top of Mount Chincogan on the weekend were treated to a sunny afternoon and wonderful scenery during the Chinny Charge.

In London and remembering Queen Elizabeth

To be in London at the moment is extraordinary. To hear ‘the Queen is dead’ was an emotional shock, as she had only two days previously looked like the sweetest granny ever, meeting the UK’s new prime minister.

Deadliest year for coastal drownings in NSW

In their latest safety report, Surf Life Saving NSW says that the 2021/2022 season had the highest number of coastal drownings on record.

Double demerit warning from police

Police are encouraging road users to take care while travelling on NSW roads, ahead of the National Day of Mourning for Queen Elizabeth II and the start of the September school holidays.

Aerial view of McGearys Quarries’ existing unremediated sand mine at Lennox Head. Photo No Sand Mines for Lennox

Opponents of sand mining at Lennox Head say an existing mine operator in the area has ‘snuck in’ a proposal for a massive expansion just before Christmas to avoid public scrutiny.

Town planner Steve Connolly has lodged a development application (DA) for the mine new on behalf of McGearys Quarries, an earth moving company based at Woodburn.

The site has been mined by McGearys since 1995 but the group No Sand Mines For Lennox says the company’s existing DA has expired and the land has not yet been remediated.

Submissions on the DA and Environmental Impact Statement close Monday January 29, the day before school goes back.

Whether the timing is deliberate may be a moot point. Nevertheless, not all councillors were aware of the DA’s lodgement, including Cr Jeff Johnson, whose ward covers Lennox Head and who was first made aware of the plan by Echonetdaily.

Mayor David Wright was part of the Joint Regional Planning Panel decision that approved a much smaller mine in the same area some some years ago and the group No Sand Mines for Lennox is calling on him ‘to extend this consultation period to at least the end of February to enable the community to evaluate the more than 200 pages of documents’.

Over-extraction

‘We also call on Ballina Council to finish its evaluation of the over-extraction from the Ballina Sands mine in the same street as directed by council at its November meeting before assessing the new application,’ said  the group’s spokesperson Amelia Hicks.

But Cr Johnson said the investigation had now concluded – and it showed Ballina Sands had undertaken ‘significant extraction beyond their consent’.

He told Echonetdaily that the council would now consider whether to proceed with court action against the company.

Ms Hicks said the McGearys proposal estimated that 1.9 million cubic metres (equivalent to 3,610,000 tonnes) would be extracted from the consolidated quarry over a period of 30 years ‘with much of the work taking place over six years’.

1.9 billion litres of water

She said the sand removal would displace ‘some 1.9 billion litres of water on the Newrybar flood plain’ as well as generating ‘thousands of truck movements’.

Cr Johnson, meanwhile, described the timing ‘just after council has dealt with one operation’ as ‘poor, especially given the environmental impact to the flood plain and North Creek.’

‘Now we have a DA for another substantial development. I would encourage as many people as possible to read it and make submissions by the deadline,’ Cr Johnson said.

North Coast Greens MLC Dawn Walker and Ballina MP Tamara Smith have added their voice to the chorus of opposition to the new mine.

Ms Walker said that sand mining had caused ‘significant environmental damage across the Northern NSW coastline’ adding that ‘this proposal for a massive new sand mine at Lennox Head should be treated with great concern.’

‘The Greens stand with the community and share their concerns about the potential impacts of this mega sand mine and I’ll be keeping a close eye on the decision made by Ballina Shire Council,’ Ms Walker said.

Ballina Greens MP Tamara Smith, who has met with No Sand Mine for Lennox several times, has formally raised her concerns with Ballina Shire council about over-extraction and the fragility of the environment and community surrounding the historical sand mine areas in Lennox Head.

‘When a community signs off on an extractive industry for 20 years on the proviso that at the end of that time the land will be repatriated, the peace on the roads will be restored and the strain on the environment will cease, then that’s what should happen,’ she said.

‘Instead the community has been duped and the land is not being restored which makes a mockery of the repatriation agreements with the mining industry.

‘Council have a duty to ensure that developers meet their agreements lest we lose complete faith in the planning system,’ Ms Smith said.

 


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Very similar to the ilmenite mining in Bundjalung National Park. NPWS has not secured a monetary bond from the extracting contractor to ensure that remediation occurs.

    The only way is to lift the corporate veil and make sure the ultimate profit taker bears personal responsibility. Too often the contractor is a $2 corporation with no assets.

    Wishful thinking I know in this current climate dominated by neo liberal economics!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Odd row of lights

Just following up the letter from Sarah Smith in the August 31 issue. It was a Starlink satellite train. My webcam captured the scene. Michael...

Trampling of the graves of the murdered: reply to Will Liley

As I read Will Liley’s response to my article in dedication to my late uncle, I recalled the poem in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel Clandestine in Chile:

Murwillumbah mega-school merger public meeting on Monday

Opposition to the merger of the four Murwillumbah Schools, which includes two primary and two high schools, remains strong. Monday will see Leader of the NSW opposition MP Chris Minns and local MP Janelle Saffin joining concerned parents, students and community members at a town hall meeting in Murwillumbah on Monday at 5.30pm.

Byron Council looking at rain damage

Byron Shire Council says they have staff out and about across the Shire today assessing damage from the rain.