Guidelines for quarry buffer zones required

The letter by Alan Bingham (Coast Community News, September 3) is typical of the pro- proposal for a recycling resource facility at the Kincumber Quarry – their arguments have no substance, with obviously no research into the matter.

They express opinion based on their friendship (business, social or personal) or being related, this is blind loyalty, selling out their integrity. If they had researched the facts, they would see that they are selling out their fellow rate payers’ health, safety, homes and the environment through their ignorance. Even the petitions that the Normans have placed around businesses are misleadingly worded and not presenting the real issue of the proposal. Certainly the residents are emotional over the prospect of living incredibly close to a recycling resource facility as their health, lifestyle, safety, financial security and the environment will potentially be severely negatively impacted. Surrounding communities will also be effected (such as Terrigal and Avoca- tourist industry areas) with heavy traffic etc. There is a very real probability of pollution to Avoca Lagoon, as the quarry’s run-off feeds into it- there are already a number of environmental breaches incurred by the owners that are documented and that is not with regular inspections. The residents have done extensive research on all types of recycling that could be permitted if rezoning was to occur, its effects on the environment and communities. We are all definitely pro recycling, but in the right locations, not where the negative impacts far outweigh the positive. No numerical guidelines as yet have been drawn up by the NSW Government concerning the minimum “buffer” zone between such facilities and residential/ sensitive areas, but the Western Australia Government has clear guidelines stating a minimum of 1,000 metres. Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) say they modelled theirs from Victoria’s and that South Australia have similar guidelines. The NSW guidelines rely on an officer’s interpretation of an A next to B etc. system, which is not at all transparent for all interested parties – therefore the system is open to bias, incompetence and corruption. We are taking steps to try to change the guidelines in NSW, but it will be too late in this case. These numerical guidelines for the buffer zone have been made after extensive research into the impacts of such facilities. Surely we should be protected similarly in NSW as are our fellow Australians. Residents purchased their homes knowing that the almost exhausted quarry is there, but could not conceive that a proposal for a resource recovery facility would be considered so close to a residential area and a mountain reserve. The “illegal” recycling that has been taking place at the quarry for at least the last 10 years has caused residents great concern with dust, noise and truck traffic. The Residents of Kincumber Association Inc. (ROKA) sent a letter to council in July 2005 complaining about the traffic issues, but the council took no action. If the residents had known that under the “existing rights use” the quarry owners are only allowed to extract from the site, not bring in material or run any other business from there, they would have pursued the matter and not let the Council and EPA turn a blind eye – these officers were remiss in their duty to say the least. The Normans did not declare their plans for a recycling resource facility at the quarry when they sold properties close to the quarry. Why? Because they knew they would get a lot less money for them. Every resident has the same rights as those who have been in the area for 200 years. The Normans have had the privilege of profiting from the quarry (no mining tax or royalties I assume) for the last 60 years and now that it is not a viable business to run anymore, instead of rehabilitating the land they are proposing to degrade it further. There are ads for the sale of Rexdor Quarry on the internet for offers above $8.25 million. The Normans say these are old ads but it is obvious that they have just withdrawn them because of the current proposal. One of the Normans’ grandsons has boasted that a sale is already in the process – I assume that it is subject to rezoning approval. I imagine the new owners would want to make a profit ASAP so the scale of business would be far greater than before. The owners are seeking the greatest possible remuneration for the land at the expense of the environment and community. They may have contributed to community projects etc. in the past but this is just good business practice and is nothing to do with this issue. Finally to all those people that are complaining that they will have to go all the way to Wyong for their recycling needs, there is a recycling resource facility in West Gosford that is legal, has plenty of room to grow, welcomes all vehicles large and small and is reasonably priced. If it costs some businesses a little more time and money to transport to West Gosford, it is normal business practise to build that into their quote.

Email, 13 Sep 2014
Barb Hudson, Kincumber