CONCERN OVER PRO-FORMA

Barro Group General Manager

We have become concerned that the small anti quarry activist group are once again providing misleading information to the community with their recent release of a pro-forma designed to discredit the merits of the quarry extension project.

The Tactic for them is not new. They have previously employed it in an effort to boost numbers and it looks as though it is being wheeled out again.

Some of the wildly inaccurate information is again causing distress.

A claim such as the Project is being opposed by multiple Councils, and over 8,000 people are amusing.

It’s more than just double counting; it’s at best, misleading. The facts can be found in Redland Council records which clearly state there were 1,139 properly made submissions about this development application. 94% of all the submissions were simple pro-formas and we have since found out that some have been made out by young children and some even submitted from America.

The 440,000 population of Redland and Logan Cities will have the benefit of the economic and employment stimulus that that this quarry project will bring and over the life of the project more than 45,000 people will live in houses that are built from the quarries products.

Interested parties have until the 30th August to make a submission to the Minister on the Project.

We expect to have a decision from the Minister before September 26th. We know that the quarry extension is in the state’s economic interest, and I would see this as a positive step towards ensuring that locally, Redland and Logan City can meet the demand for Quarry materials into the future.

Over its 50 year life we will see an injection to the local community of over 400 million dollars, excluding Government fees and charges. The figure includes $12.5 million expected to be pumped into local businesses immediately when construction on the 21st century processing plant commences.

The need is unquestionable. There will only ever be two locally based quarries in Redland and Logan of any scale to meet local demand, and with other key projects  and the official predicted growth figures for our region, locally sourced product is vital to keep building and construction, renovation and  infrastructure costs under control.

This project will set a new environmental benchmark and again Redland City will be at the forefront of that. The Project will establish a balanced position between quarrying and conservation and have designed our proposal to use just 28% of the site for quarrying purposes and the remaining 72% for conservation purposes.

The Mount Cotton Quarry Extension Project is about ensuring an ecological sustainable solution for the future. It is about providing the built environment we must have, and ensuring the wider environmental focus we need and demand. Most importantly, it’s about maximising the benefits for the community with a 21st century approach to partnership quarrying.

To address the claims made in the mis-leading Pro forma:

Claim:     Two (2) Successive Councils have voted NO to the development and there have been two parliamentary petitions against it – the community and their local elected representatives clearly oppose it.

Answer:         The development that the Minister is proposing to call in and has invited submissions on is listed by Redland Council as MCU012421.

This application was properly made on the 2nd February 2011. Whilst there was one previous application made it was found not to be properly made and was invalid and not assessable.
Claims that previous parliament e petitions are about this development are not true and are an attempt to link petitions made in June and July 2005 to this development application which was not even submitted until February 2011.    

Claim:        Existing tourism and environmental State Interests will be significantly impacted if this quarry proceeds – these are existing land uses.

Answer:    The project will have no impact on existing tourism. There is currently one Guest House that is on a large 50 acre heavily timbered property that abuts our 600 acre property. Initially the Guest house will be about 1.5 kilometres from the quarry and slowly as the quarry develops will in about 40 years’ time be just under one kilometre away. The tertiary crushing and screening plant, stockpiling and truck loading area are located over 2 kilometres away, but you really need to overlay the dense vegetation and topography to appreciate the remoteness of the Guest House and the future quarry.

We concur that the development involves environmental State Interests which are listed by the Minister as being related to the Koala SPRP and the Vegetation Management Plan 1999 (VMA).
Our plan from day one was to have a balanced project which both protected and enhanced the local environment and also provided a much needed source of high quality quarry products.
As endorsement of our planned development the trained and capable engineers, environmental scientists and planners in all three levels of Government reviewed and approved our proposal:

Commonwealth Government – Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population, and Communities – Approved the development as a non-controlled action with no conditions
State Government – Department of Environment and Heritage Protection – Approved the project with a number of conditions
Local Government – Redland City Council Officers – Recommended approval of the project with a number of conditions

The environmental merits of the project have been scientifically and thoroughly reviewed and the project is robust and will have a positive environmental outcome.

Claim:        Existing residential land use will be significantly impacted by this quarry – they precede the purchase of this land by over 30 years.

Answer:    Mount Cotton Quarry has been operating for around 60 years. Barro Groups large 600 acre land holding has enabled the quarry extension to be planned to minimise potential impacts on the environment and surrounding residences. As a result of this planning only 28% of the 600 acres will be used for quarrying and the remaining 430 acres has been allocated for conservation and buffer purposes. A range of engineering initiatives will be used to minimise dust and noise including placing crushing equipment inside large buildings. The impacts have been thoroughly investigated and will confirm with all regulatory requirements.

Claim:    The development conflicts with the Redland City Council Local Planning Scheme (rural residential and ecotourism).

Answer:    The development does not conflict with the Redland City Council Local Planning Scheme and extractive industry is a permitted use.
The Redland Council Officers report, which was published in the Agenda Council Coordination Committee Meeting Wednesday 5th June 2013, states that:
“The majority of the proposed quarry pit and its associated infrastructure are contained in the Rural Non-Urban (RNU) Zone.”
Permitted uses in the RNU Zone include:
“(e) Involve the winning of extractive resources;”.
“By virtue of the fact that the land is identified as KRA 71 in the SPP, which in turn is reflected in the Extractive Resources Overlay in the RPS (Redland Planning Scheme), there is clear direction that this land is generally appropriate for quarrying activity”
“Overlayed on this zoning and identification of the land for extractive resources is the Koala SPPR and the Habitat Protection Overlay. It is not considered that either the SPPR or the overlay remove the ability to establish a quarry on the site; rather they potentially constrain the development in terms of its extent an operation.”
Redland City Council own planning officers have clearly determined that quarrying is a permitted use for the site.

Claim:    80,000 trucks annually exceeds the capacity of local roads and endangers residentia lcommuters.

Answer:    The current and future access for the quarry is on to the State Controlled Mount Cotton Road. The Redland Council Officers report (pages 47 and 48) states that the quarry extension project will only increase the traffic on Mount Cotton Road by 0.4% for the morning and afternoon peaks.
The Department of Transport and Main Roads thoroughly assessed the application and set conditions of approval based on ensuring operational safety and the safety of road users on Mount cotton Road.
The project will on average have eleven trucks departing the site each hour.

Claim:    The region is already provided by existing large quarries with the proposed quarry supplying less that 1.5% of South East Queensland’s requirements.

Answer:    The development does not target supply to the entire South East Queensland market. Whilst there are a number of existing large quarries in the South East Queensland there are only two hardrock quarries of any scale that are located in Redland or Logan Municipalities. The major constraints for the establishment of a hardrock quarry are:
Geological – There must be good quality rock in the ground, and this is not a common occurrence
Transportation – There must be ready access to a high capacity road network
Land use – The land zoning must permit extractive industry
Impacts – The topography of the land must be favourable to manage visual, noise, dust and water impacts. The lands flora and fauna population must be able to be able to be managed in conjunction with the extractive use.

Acting together these constraints severely limit the location of quarries and it is now considered unlikely that any new quarry would be approved on a land area of less than around 600 acres.

Given the urbanisation and environmental constraints that exist in Redland and Logan Municipalities it is clear that there will never be another future hardrock quarry site available in Redland and Logan Municipalities.
Using forecast figures of QLD Treasury plus further extrapolation the long term demand for quarry materials in Redland City and Logan City the forecasts show that 350 million tonnes of quarry materials will be required in the next 45 years.

As the truck haulage is inevitable, the only variable is which quarry will the materials be supplied from and that will determine how far the haulage trucks have to travel and how many haulage trucks will be required.

The further quarries are from their end markets the longer the distance haulage trucks will have to travel and the greater the number of haulage trucks that will be required.
There is an undeniable future need for quarry materials in Redland and Logan Municipalities and this need will not even be met by the two existing quarries in Redland.

Claim:    The proposed licence conditions do not protect the community from adverse impacts including silica dust, noise, traffic, flooding and sediment discharge.

Answer:  
Silica dust:
For the 12 month period from December 2008 to December 2009 the Air Quality Sciences, Science Delivery Division of the QLD State Government carried out the most exhaustive testing of silica dust associated with quarries ever carried out in Australia.
The report is titled the Mount Cotton Quarry Dust Investigation. The full report is available on our website but the summary of the report was:
“The results from this investigation reinforce the conclusion of the initial March 2008 study and that the Mount Cotton community is unlikely to suffer health effects from particle and crystalline silica generated from quarrying activities in the Mount Cotton area.”
Noise:
Redland City Council’s officers assessed the proposal and made the following statement in their report to Council:
“The noise reports demonstrates that the quarry will operate within the adopted noise criteria, and therefore comply with Council’ planning scheme requirements.”
Traffic:
The current and future access for the quarry is on to the State Controlled Mount Cotton Road. The Redland Council Officers report (pages 47 and 48) states that the quarry extension project will only increase the traffic on Mount Cotton Road by 0.4% for the morning and afternoon peaks.
The Department of Transport and Main Roads thoroughly assessed the application and set conditions of approval based on ensuring operational safety and the safety of road users on Mount cotton Road.
The project will on average have eleven trucks departing the site each hour.
Flooding and sediment discharge:
Redland City Council’s engineers assessed the proposal and made the following statement in their report to Council:
“Councils engineer has assessed the stormwater assessment and management plan from the applicant and considers that it demonstrates compliance with the Flood Prone, Storm Tide and Drainage Constrained Land Overlay Code and the Stormwater Management Code. In particular, the assessment demonstrates that the development will not increase the downstream flows from the development. In fact, it demonstrates that flows will be lessened, as the quarry pit itself will act as a very large storage pit for stormwater, with the water being pumped to the treatment and discharge area at a controlled rate.”
“Councils environment officer has assessed the management plan in relation to the quality of the stormwater being released from the site. The environmental officer considers that the plan demonstrates that the water quality objectives in the Redlands Planning Scheme will be achieved, with the stormwater passing through a number of treatment cycles prior to being discharged from the site.”

Claim:    This quarry does not have sufficient buffer distance to ameliorate the extreme risk to safety from blasting.

Answer:    All blasting activities in the State of Qld are strictly controlled and there are well known and applied methodologies for the design of blasting and the control of impacts. A number of expert blasting consultants have reviewed the proposed blasting methods for the project and it has been found that with the adoption of special control methods in two small areas of the site all blasting can be carried out in conformance with regulatory requirements and appropriate risk management standards.
To further limit the impact of blasting the quarry has been designed so that the direction of blasting is generally to east which provides large buffers across our own land and is in a direction away from adjoining properties.
We have blasted on the site for the last 20 years without risk to safety.

Claim:    The development will lead to a further reduction in regionally endangered ecosystems and further threaten the survivability of the endangered coastal Koala population. This is a matter of State Interest.

Answer:    We concur that the development involves environmental State Interests which are listed by the Minister as being related to the Koala SPRP and the Vegetation Management Plan 1999 (VMA).
We strongly assert that the development will not lead to a further reduction in regionally endangered ecosystems and further threaten the survivability of the endangered coastal Koala population but will in fact vastly enhanced the endangered ecosystems and Koala habitat.
The 430 acres of conservation land will be protected by a legally binding mechanism for 50 years and our management plan for this land includes control measures such as weed management that will encourage more prolific understory and canopy growth. Add to this that in currently cleared areas of the property over 50,000 new trees will be established the conservation areas on the land will the potential to be of much higher value and have higher koala carrying capacity than some of the adjacent State and National Parks.