An application currently being considered by Council for the dumping of 140,000 cubic metres of excavation soil to the Rindean Quarry at Wisemans Ferry Rd, has been met by Somersby residence with serious reservation.
According to the application, the intended purpose of the 240,000 tonnes of Excavated Natural Material (ENM) would be used to rejuvenate and cap old tailings ponds, build a road and create a wheel wash facility.
Residents at Somersby have expressed concern that the sudden increase of heavy vehicles – possibly 9,000 trucks – along the Wisemans Ferry Road would be detrimental to the environment as well as create a serious noise problem.
As yet there appears to be no plan in place to manage the increased traffic. Nor has anyone seen an environmental impact statement and the likely effects of bringing in such a large amount of soil to the area.
In addition to the environmental impact, this also raises a number of logistical concerns.
The fact that the soil in question is not native but will likely come from Sydney construction projects is also reason for concern.
Questions remain as to whether the soil that is brought in will be tested and checked for contamination. Residents have raised concerns that even if the soil is tested the likely testing facility will be NATA whose director is also the director of Rindean Quarries.
Residents are also concerned that once the six-metre noise bunds ms are in place, it will be virtually impossible to monitor the work.
A percentage of the Central Coasts’ drinking water originates from the springs that flow underneath the 38-acre site.
These underground springs also feed some creeks including Narara Creek and those that run through Strickland State Forest.
The sand mine in question has been out of operation since 2004 and many residents are wondering why no air quality, noise or traffic management plans have accompanied the application.
Councillors in Gosford voted against the quarry when DA42409 was considered in 2012.
In 2014 the issue was addressed through Environment Court mediation. As a result of that mediation a Section 34 agreement was made between Gosford Council and Rindean Quarries which would allow for the removal of up to 150,000 tonnes per year of sand over a period of 20 years.
Having received license to quarry approval from the EPA, Rindean Quarries seem unlikely to budge or even address any further concerns from residence.
It would seem to many of the residents who fought to prevent the old quarry from renewed mining in 2014 are now faced with the prospect that earlier fears of the area will be turned into a dumping ground will now be a reality.
You can find out more about current resident action on the Stop Rindean Quarry Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/Stoprindeanquarrysomersby/).
Image: GSS (Ground Stabilisation Systems), 2017.