Lithgow Council has expressed its serious concerns with a proposal to use a former quarry near Bell to deposit waste from the Sydney metropolitan area.
At its last Ordinary meeting of 2017 Lithgow Council received information on a proposal to use the former Bell Quarry at Sandham Road Newnes Junction for the importation of waste from the Sydney region.
The proposal, for a Waste Management Facility, is being prepared by a company, Bell Quarry Rehabilitation Project Pty Ltd. The company proposes to fill the former Bell Quarry through the importation of approximately 1.5 million tonnes of Excavated Natural Material (ENM), Virgin Excavated Natural Material (VENM) and other clean fill from Sydney, with a vehicle haulage rate of up to 140,000 tonnes per annum. The company is understood to have claimed that this will lead to the rehabilitation of the former quarry.
The proposal will require the company to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and submit a Development Application. Whilst the application will be submitted to Lithgow City Council, the final determination will be made by the Western Region Joint Regional Planning Panel.
A Council spokesman said today “The prime issues that will need to be considered with this application are the importation of waste from outside the Lithgow local government area and the number of truck movements through the Blue Mountains. Council has already received representations from Blue Mountains City Council expressing its concerns with the proposal.”
“Whilst it is understood that the material proposed to be dumped at the Bell site is non-putrescible waste, there are still significant concerns as to the environmental and amenity impacts not to mention the potential damage to Lithgow’s reputation as it may then become seen as an area that is able to accept waste from the Sydney metropolitan area. As there may be other open cut and mining voids in the Lithgow local government area, Council will be concerned that this could be seen as the ‘thin edge of the wedge’ and further proposals may come out of the woodwork. Whilst Council will eagerly await the lodgment of an application and environmental impact statement so it may understand the proposal and all the impacts, Council would call on the company to reconsider the proposal and find an alternative site outside the Lithgow local government area” concluded the Council spokesman.
Footnote – As the Development Application will be determined by the Western Region Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP), on which Lithgow Mayor Councillor Stephen Lesslie and Council’s Director of Economic Development and Environment sit, both parties removed themselves from the Council Chambers when the matter was debated by Council.
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