|1. Minister/Agency||Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning (SDIP)|
|2. Topic title||Gold Coast Quarry (Boral)|
|3. Background||In 2005 Boral purchased 219ha of land in Tallebudgera Valley, which became KRA 96 in 2007 when the State Government identified areas of hard rock sand and gravel resources in South East Queensland. Between 2005 and 2010 Boral undertook a process of producing an Initial Advice Statement (IAS) seeking to have the current proposal assessed under the State Development Public Works Organization Act (SDPWO). There was no opportunity for public input into this process despite the major impact such a proposal will have on the community, particularly local residents. Boral was successful in their bid and in late 2010 informed the public of their intention to develop the resources of KRA 96 if permitted by the Coordinator General and the Federal Government under the designated controlled action of the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act. Over the past 3 ½ years the community, headed by the Stop the Quarry committee, particularly those living in the vicinity of the quarry site have shown their distress at this proposal and have demonstrated their objection to this development at a number of community meetings, numerous objections to the EIA, letters and deputations to the Deputy Premier. It was a great shock to the community to learn just prior to Christmas 2013 that the Minister had ignored all of their requests and was supporting the quarry.|
|4. Issue Summary||
2. The genuine and realistic concerns of hundreds of residents have been ignored for the benefit of a single company. The residents bought into the area without knowledge of the proposed quarry and did not expect a healthy semi- rural lifestyle to be threatened by development causing toxic air and noise pollution and increased danger on inadequate local roads. The impact of truck movements in the site and adjoining areas cannot be adequately assessed by concerned citizens since this information is not provided as per this statement on page 251 of the EIA. This area is heavily used by families taking children to and from local schools and the excessive truck movement pose an unacceptable risk. Some residences are within 300 metres of operations not the required 1000 metres. The concerns raised by the Department of Health regarding health risks from silica dust (and possible asbestos dust) have been ignored. There is no air quality monitoring station within a 15 km radius of the Project site with publically available data.
3. Important ecological corridor: The site is part of the Burleigh to Springbrook ecological corridor, which, in a growing city with few links between the coast and the MacPherson range, is of high importance. The Gold Coast City Planning Scheme identifies this area as of very high strategic value which is now at risk from this project. It is a habitat corridor for local wildlife and plants, some of which are designated rare and threatened and as such should be preserved as a reserve. The flora and fauna studies have identified 348 flora species and 101 fauna species, demonstrating a high level of biodiversity. Of these flora species 8 are listed under the Nature Conservation Act as vulnerable or near threatened and 3 are listed under the EPBC Act as vulnerable, again demonstrating that it is an important site. Of the 101 fauna species the Koala, Grey headed Flying Fox, the Glossy Black Cockatoo and White Bellied Sea Eagle are listed under the EPBC Act as vulnerable. All of the fauna species, whether listed or not, will be threatened by the construction and operation of the quarry despite reassurances that this is not the case. Further there is no consideration of the Koala SPRP Koala State Planning Regulatory Provisions which are intended to protect the diminishing number of koalas in South East Queensland.
Other threats include dust settling on vegetation eaten by wildlife, noise from operations and blasting, and increased predation from feral cats on a disturbed site. It is further noted that there is no fauna management plan included in the EIS which should provide information about the care of native species during the construction and implementation phases of the quarry. How will fauna displaced by the construction phases be managed given that the buffer zone is highly likely to be already holding its ecological complement of native fauna?
Habitat not viable: There is no comparative data provided from other quarry sites to demonstrate the proponent’s confidence that this site will remain a viable habitat for all fauna species. No studies have been provided of other quarries that have been operating for some years to be able to provide data on biodiversity levels prior to the commencement of the quarry and the situation several years later.
Weeds: The report notes that trucks entering and leaving the site will move through a wash area to remove weeds carried on the trucks, but truck movements at the rate of one every 60 seconds calls the efficacy of this methodology into question. How effective can a ‘wash’ be at such a rapid rate of movement?
Light pollution- The report does not appear to mention the impact of light pollution on native nocturnal fauna, though this would be a problem to nocturnal animals in winter months from both the construction site and also truck headlights. It is presumed also that the site will have security lighting during the hours of darkness and this too will cause problems for nocturnal animals in feeding and breeding regimes.
Blasting: There is no discussion of the impacts of blasting or vibration on native fauna, though it is well known that animals are more sensitive to such disturbances than humans.
Truck movements- It is noted that it is expected that there will be a truck movement on the narrow, winding Old Coast Road every 60 seconds, which will undoubtedly pose a threat to wildlife that cross or attempt to cross this road. The health impacts on neighbouring residents and existing wildlife will be severe and mitigation is unlikely to be sufficient to deal with operation noise, wind borne dust and heavy vehicular traffic from 6am- 6 pm, 6 days per week, plus noise on the 7th day when maintenance is undertaken over a period of 40 years.
4. No figures of Greenhouse gases: Boral claims that Greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) will be reduced by transporting gravel from this site to developments in the southern part of the city without giving any comparative figures to support this. Nor is there any guarantee that the gravel will only be used on developments in the southern end of Gold Coast City. Gecko must assume that Boral will also seek markets in northern New South Wales and areas north of Tallebudgera.
|5. Key Points / Issues||
|6. Requests||Gecko requests that the Deputy Premier reverse his recommendation that the Boral quarry is approved and places the health and wellbeing of local residents and wildlife ahead of the economic benefit of a single company.|
|Submitted by||Lois Levy, Campaign Coordinator. Rose Adams, Secretary.|