Caraban quarry rejection pleases Woodridge residents

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Woodridge residents are against the establishment of a new limestone and sand quarry on Caraban Rd. Picture: Anita McInnes

WOODRIDGE residents are thrilled with a decision by Gingin councillors to reject a development application for a new quarry on Caraban Rd but the applicant can take the matter to the State Administrative Tribunal for review.

On Tuesday councillor Frank Johnson put forward an alternative motion that the council refuse the application by Sheepco for a quarry to operate on Lot M1332 Caraban Rd.

Cr Johnson said he understood the council’s planning department were doing their job but sometimes councillors had to think about residents.

He said Woodridge was there before the quarry proposal and keeping the dust and noise suppressed would be hard for the applicant.

Gingin President Wayne Fewster said he was happy to support the alternative motion as the difference between the proposed quarry and the established quarry was the direction of the prevailing winds.

In August last year during a residents meeting about the proposal King Dr resident Damien Nelson said the westerly winds which blew most of the year meant dust from the proposed quarry would affect everyone in Woodridge.

In her deputation Kirsty Smith said the last five-year average for wind movement in the Woodbridge area showed about 39 per cent of winds moved in a NW to SSW direction straight across Woodridge estate.

“The 5-year average wind speed being 16.8km/h, reaching up to 94km/h,’’ she said.

“Yet the report provided by the applicant speaks to wind speeds of just 14.4km/h.’’

Yesterday Jenny Walker told Yanchep News Online she is concerned about the applicant’s plan to only have an 800m buffer to the Woodridge community.

“The WAPC’s planning for basic raw materials guidelines released in July this year says the EPA’s separation distances between industrial and sensitive land uses (GS3) should guide the establishment of separation distances to protect community health, safety and amenity,’’ she said.

“The EPA separation distances between industrial and sensitive land uses (GS3) says the buffer between an extractive industry where quarrying, crushing and screening are carried out and residential development should be 1000m.

“I don’t understand how any agency or department could give this proposal the green light.’’

Mrs Walker said there were about 600 people living in Woodridge and Caraban combined making it one of the biggest estates in the Shire of Gingin.

Rona Chiera from Moore River Holidays and a Caraban Rd resident said they were not against limestone mining but were against its location next to a big community and close to an important waterway.

Lot M1332 Caraban Rd, Caraban.

“We will lose the health and wellbeing of our locals, our produce will become low graded crops, and the lifestyle, the agritourism precinct that is developing on the Moore River along this road will be put at risk, and who would want to buy into an estate where the disruption of an additional quarry is in progress,’’ she said.

Shane Ness said the main reasons why the development should be refused related to fire risk, incompatibility with the Moore River valley and inadequacies in how the proposed quarry had been described and as a result the inadequate assessment of its amenity impacts.

Stan Sykes said the only water supply on the land in question was a shallow bore put down about 45 years ago and which was serviced by a windmill.

“On occasions it has run dry and stock have had to be moved until it was lifting water again,’’ he said.

“The matter of water is critical in relation to the dangers of crystalline silica and saturation levels required to suppress dust from drifting over Woodridge.’’

In response to submissions against the approval of the quarry Sheepco said the quarry would generate dust so a dust management plan would likely be a condition of the development application and also a works approval, which would have to be sought from the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER).

Sheepco’s response said their actions to deal with the dust issue would include sprinkler systems, stockpiles under 12m high and about 20m in diameter, misting sprayers on conveyors during screening and crushing operations and shade cloth on perimeter fencing to prevent dust entering or escaping the site.

“(But) the WA DWER does not specify ambience guideline values for silica,’’ the Sheepco response said.

“It is more often identified through the OH&S legislation rather than the environmental regulation.

“Interestingly neither the DWER nor the Department of Health submissions received during the public submission period mention the emission of silica as an issue.’’

The response said the dust management plan would include a monitoring program.

“This will dictate how and when dust management will be monitored and the remedial action that will then take place.’’

Monitoring techniques to be applied could potentially include (1) visual monitoring of dust levels from operations by trained personnel, with operations moderated or ceased when elevated dust levels are observed to occur or (2) the application of dust deposition gauges.

An existing bore will provide the initial supplies needed to establish the quarry with a second bore also available for immediate use.

“Operational water supply may be augmented with an additional bore, the licence for which is currently being considered.

“If additional water supply is required for dust suppression and other operational matters, then the relevant licences will be sought from DWER.

“Alternatively, water allocations will be sourced from existing licensees.’’

The response said the limestone and sand operations would likely have a minimal effect on the proposed micro-brewery as its footprint would be about 1km east of the micro-brewery and 750m east of the ancillary chalets.

Yanchep News Online attempted to contact the applicant for comment.

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