SCALED-back plans for a sand mine at Williamtown will be presented to a community meeting on Monday, in a bid to appease residents who have been fighting the controversial development for more than 12 months.
60 submissions were lodged, the majority objections, after an environmental impact statement for the Cabbage Tree Road quarry was placed on public exhibition by the Department of Planning last year.
The proponent – the Williamtown Sand Syndicate – is not expected to finish reviewing the submissions until the end of August but has already flagged it will reduce the footprint of the quarry by more than 20 per cent and increase buffers to nearby homes.
It is the second time the size of the mine has been pared back; shrinking the original 68 hectare proposal to 42 hectares and cutting royalties generated for Port Stephens Council from $20 million to $17.5 million.
Under the latest incarnation, to be discussed at the Sir Francis Drake Motel in Heatherbrae on Monday night, 3.05 million tonnes of sand will be extracted over eight to 15 years.
The mine would be inside the Williamtown RAAF base contamination 'red zone' and objections have been raised relating to water and air quality effects, noise and truck movements.
However in a letter to residents, Williamtown Sand Syndicate said it had improved fauna corridors, made changes to its extraction methods that would “materially” reduce noise levels and had revised its arrangements to address traffic safety concerns.
It said the area would be rehabilitated to a native ecosystem, “equivalent to or better than existing conditions.”
President of the Williamtown and Surrounds Residents Action Group Cain Gorfine said they still “rejected” the proposal, regardless of “whatever small changes” had been made.
“The mine will still clear and destroy just under half a million square metres of preferred koala habitat, endangered plant species, within metres of dozens of families and their homes,” he said.
The meeting will be held in the Elizabeth room at 5.30pm for a 6pm start.