A recession motion to reverse the controversial decision by Ballina Shire Council to approve a development application (DA) for three additional house blocks inside the buffer zone of the Gap Road quarry and asphalt plant in Alstonville has been lodged.
The vote on the DA, on May 28, was locked at five votes each way and the Mayor, David Wright, used his casting vote to get the DA over the line.
‘It is my view that Council should not be approving any new developments, in particular, new residential land subdivisions within the buffer zone of the Alstonville Quarry and Asphalt Plant (operated by Boral),’ said Cr Ballina Councillor Jeff Johnson.
The block of land had restrictions on the title in relation to subdivision because it sits within the 1,000m buffer zone around the quarry and asphalt plant.
‘Alarm bells should be ringing when both the EPA (Environmental Protection Authority) and Boral (the owner of the Asphalt Plant) have both written submissions to Council highlighting that the proposed residential subdivision is ‘well within the recommended buffer limit of 1000m’ and that future residents of this subdivision ‘will be impacted by noise, odour and dust’,’ explained Cr Johnson.
‘The proposed subdivision is 425m from the Quarry and of more concern, only 350m from the Asphalt Plant. The Boral Asphalt Plant at Alstonville has been the subject of numerous complaints to both Ballina Council and the EPA over many years. This type of heavy industry should be located well away from a residential area and Council shouldn’t be approving new sub divisions within the buffer zone,’ said Cr Johnson.
Speaking to Echonetdaily following the use of his casting vote to approve the DA at the last council meeting Mayor Wright explained that he had lived in Alstonville for many years from 1975 and believed that the issues with the asphalt plant had only arisen in the last few years.
‘There can be neighbours who live next door to one another where one says there is an issue and the other has their windows open and says there isn’t a problem,’ he told Echonetdaily.
‘I’d say half the people are in favour. They know that if the plant closes all the land around Panorama Estate will be developed.’
An amendment to the motion put at the last council meeting Cr Keith Williams to defer and seek legal advice was defeated.
Council duty of care
‘I believe that Council has a duty of care and should not be approving new subdivisions in a location where we know there have been health concerns raised, and that NSW Government legislation acknowledged the impacts and have subsequently imposed a buffer zone to prevent future development,’ Cr Johnson explained to Echonetdaily.
‘I have long campaigned for the Asphalt Plant to be shut down due to its proximity to the residential areas of Astonville, and for Boral to either relocate it, or preferably, build a more modern facility with less pollution on a site that is well away from any residential area.
‘Boral’s lease expires in less than five years. I certainly won’t be supporting any extension or renewal of that lease, and hope that Boral is already looking for alternative locations far away from any residential area.’