Port Stephens MP Kate Washington was shocked to learn of details presented to the community last night about the proposed Bobs Farm sand mine which has been before the Department of Planning and Environment since 2014.
Approximately 40 local residents attended the ‘community consultation meeting’ held at Bobs Farm Community Hall and hosted by Bob Lander from Tattersall Lander. Mr Lander informed the attendees that the meeting was a requirement of the Department of Planning and Environment before the proposal could progress.
None of the documents regarding the proposal are publicly available yet, so many of the details were unknown to the residents in the room. The information presented at last night's meeting came as a shock to many.
According to Mr Lander, the proposal will involve:
- sand being mined to 15 metres below the water table,
- 180 truck movements between 7am to 6pm, with a maximum of 18 trucks every hour (or one every three minutes) rumbling alongside Bobs Farm Public School,
- the clearing of 36.1 hectares of land including ‘threatened species and feeding habitat’,
- a 24.5 hectare void/dam following extraction, and
- the removal of 10 million tonnes of sand over 15 years from ancient sand dunes
Questions were asked of Mr Lander regarding most aspects of the presentation, including groundwater impacts, air quality, environmental harm, noise and traffic impacts.
Following Mr Lander's presentation, a resident asked the audience to raise their hand if they opposed the sand mine. Everyone in the hall, aside from the Tattersall Lander's representatives, raised their hands.
Despite the obvious community opposition to the proposal, Mr Lander said that he was ‘reasonably confident’ that the sand mine will go ahead, because ‘all reports are indicating compliance with the Department’s rule book.’ Mr Lander anticipated that the sand mine could be ready to operate within three years.
Mr Lander said that he hoped to have the proponent’s submission finalised for lodging prior to Christmas, following which the reports would 'go live' on the Department of Planning and Environment’s website.
Quotes attributable to Kate Washington MP
"Amongst the audience there was an initial sense of disbelief then outright betrayal. How could anyone think it is okay to dig up then dredge ancient sand dunes to 15 metres below the water table, then leave a 24 hectare void.
"Bobs Farm Public School – which only recently celebrated its centenary – will not survive this. Families will not want to send their children to a school where sand trucks rumble past every three minutes.
"Bobs Farm is a beautiful, ecologically diverse area. It's home to many families who chose to live there for all it has to offer – peace, beauty, tranquillity, clean groundwater. The proposed sand mine will change these people's lives for good.
"This proposal is an abomination. Alongside my community, I will be opposing this venture every step of the way.”
This item was distributed as a media release on Thursday 11 October 2018.