Residents oppose sand mine traffic

A PETITION with 700 signatures opposing a new access way to a Williamtown sand mine was presented to state Planning Minister Brad Hazzard yesterday. 

Port Stephens MP Craig Baumann passed on the petition and met  Mr Hazzard at Parliament House in Sydney.

‘‘I’ve discussed the issues with him and passed on the residents’ concerns,’’ Mr Baumann said.

‘‘Mr Hazzard has asked for a briefing paper on the issue and is watching it closely.’’

Macka’s Sand, part owned by Port Stephens mayor Bruce MacKenzie, has applied to build a two-kilometre road over private land to access the mine.

About 700 residents have protested the new access way off Nelson Bay Road, via a public meeting and this latest petition.

The company estimates that eight trucks an hour would travel to and from the site during peak periods.

Residents who are opposed to the project believe the figure will be significantly higher.

They are also concerned about noise and environmental impact on nearby residents as well as significant indigenous artefacts located along the proposed route.

‘‘We want this petition to go to the Department of Planning now, while they are still forming their position,’’ Medowie lawyer and campaigner Kate Washington said. ‘‘We will also write to emergency services and tourism operators about the impacts the increased traffic will have.’’

Tomaree Ratepayers and Residents Association president Terry Wall said Nelson Bay Road was a main access route for the peninsular and the proposal needed to be carefully considered.

The Department of Planning, which is assessing the project, announced last month the project would be independently determined after it received more than 25 objections. The Planning Assessment Commission will now rule on the proposal.

The new access would come off Nelson Bay Road between the Medowie and Richardson Road roundabouts.

Concerned residents believe this latest route to Lot 218 will also create additional truck movements on the Richardson Road roundabout, which is already used to access an existing sand mine, Lot 220.

Mr MacKenzie has maintained throughout the process that he respected the rights of those opposed to the project.

‘‘Everyone is entitled to have their say,’’ he said.

He has also rejected claims the company’s second mine would noticeably increase the number of trucks on the road.

He said similar numbers would instead cover both mines.

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