Council to again vote on quarry
After five years of back and forth, a controversial granite extraction licence could be approved by Harvey Shire Council tonight despite being refused three times in the past, the first time in 2013.
At the council’s development services committee meeting on September 11, planning services staff recommended the council grant an Extractive Industries Licence for Brunswick company B&J Catalano to extract 50,000 to 100,000 tonnes per year on Lot 501 Coalfields Road in Roelands.
This is despite neighbouring landowners voicing strong opposition to the quarry, such as Roelands Village chief executive officer Les Wallam who said the former Aboriginal mission-turned-retreat would be the most affected.
“It’s become more concerning as time goes on,” he said.
Neighbouring landholder and former Bunbury Mayor David Smith believes the application should be rejected because it could open the door for other extraction licences in the area.
“It sets a precedent for other quarries to come in and apply for licences,” Mr Smith said.
He said he was also concerned about the environmental impact of the proposed quarry.
“There has been no formal assessment of whether the flora and fauna would be affected,” he said.
B&J Catalano first applied for planning consent in October 2013, when it was refused by the council due to concerns about the loss of amenity to nearby landowners.
The proposal was referred to the Environmental Protection Agency in March 2014, which 12 months later ruled any environmental impact would not be significant enough to require formal EPA assessment.
Neighbouring landowners appealed this but it was overturned in July 2015 by Minister for Environment and the Appeals Convenor.
B&J Catalano took the matter to the State Administrative Tribunal In January 2016 urging the council to approve the quarry.
The council refused this twice, in April and again in October, 2016, claiming the application went against the shire’s Planning Scheme No. 1 General Farming zoning on the site, and clause 2.2.2 of the scheme which discouraged “mining or industrial development of the western escarpment of the Darling Ranges”.
The tribunal rejected these concerns in March last year granting planning consent for the quarry subject to strict conditions.
The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation granted works approvals for the proposal in February.
Further appeals to the Appeals Convenor were quashed on September 5, the convenor satisfied the environmental and amenity issues would be addressed by the conditions placed by the tribunal and through subsequent land-clearing applications to DWER.
A report tabled for tonight’s council meeting shows B&J Catalano has complied with all of these conditions.
Harvey shire president Tania Jackson said there was no legal reason the quarry extraction licence could not be approved.
B&J Catalano South West manager Peter Renton maintains the company followed the stringent application process.
“We follow due process and we operate above the legal requirement of these operations,” Mr Renton said.
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