Sand mine approved

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
The location of the proposed sand mine in Kaloorup Credit: Supplied
Camera IconThe location of the proposed sand mine in Kaloorup Credit: Supplied

A controversial application to develop a sand mine in Kaloorup was approved by the City of Busselton during its first telecommunication council meeting on Wednesday.

New conditions were imposed on the proponent, Margaret River Natural Resources, including requiring a $20,000 road management bond which would be replenished if used.

The decision was six weeks in the making after Cr Sue Ricelli moved to defer the vote citing the dense population surrounding the site and traffic management as potential issues.

Councillors Ricelli, Cox and Hick voted against the mine while councillors Carter, Barrett-Leonard, Cronin, Miles, Paine and Henley supported the development.

The mine had been opposed by more than 30 residents in the Kaloorup area including Diane Smith-Gander and Stuart Love who argued that Gibb Road needed to be sealed, at the cost of the proprietor, for the safety of nearby residents.

“We believe that ratepayers shouldn’t be at the expense of private projects and we also don’t believe that council should have to carry a huge administrative burden to ensure compliance of a project that has many potential moving parts,” Ms Smith-Gander said.

The City maintained the conditions of capping the maximum of 10 trucks in and 10 trucks out, transporting materials from the site, and proposed to widen Roy and Gibb roads to 6.2m.

Cr Phil Cronin argued that further conditions of sealing Gibb road would cost the proponent about $650,000 and render the project “uneconomical.”

“If we seal the road then I have seen the report on how fast cars drive down that road and they will drive faster,” he said.

“I don’t think it will make it any safer but simply make this process go on and on. The residents won’t get what we are trying to put in force now, (the conditions) it will be forced to go to SAT.”

Mayor Grant Henley said the condition of 3D terrain modelling gave a survey of the area ensuring compliance.

“It’s probably the most heavily conditioned extractive industry approval that we have granted,” he said.

“We are looking to expedite our policy to make it easier for applicants to know what is required concerning compliance.”

Residents had previously voiced concerns regarding harmful silica dust billowing from the mine, or trucks, contaminating the Carbanup River and surrounding vineyards.

However, Margaret River Natural Resources director Roger Cook said sand would not blow from the trucks onto grape vines.

“The water that Busselton residents drink is filtered through our silica sand so all the chat about silica does not relate,” he said.

“We have supplied washed silica sand to many of the children’s sand pits in the area and to filter swimming pools, it’s not harmful but would improve the quality of the river if it were to reach their due to poor management.”

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