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Gravel pit knocked back – for now

AFTER a two-year 10-month delay, Swan Gravel/Trico Resources’ application to accelerate gravel extraction from 47,000 tonnes to 950,000 tonnes a year at 3650 Toodyay Road Bailup finally came before Mundaring Shire Council on October 13.

In a surprise decision the council voted 7-3 to reject a staff recommendation to approve the expansion which would increase traffic on Toodyay Road from 20 to 132 trucks a day.

Prior to the decision to reject the application, four public deputations opposing the project were presented including one from Toodyay Shire President Rosemary Madacsi who spoke at the invitation of Mundaring Shire President John Daw.      Cr Madacsi reaffirmed Toodyay’s concerns and objections to the proposal on the following grounds: additional traffic and road safety concerns on Toodyay Road; potential amenity impacts on Morangup residents, and potential environmental impacts on the water table. In the event of shire approval, Cr Madacsi reiterated the shire’s position of January 2018 that “strenuous conditions” be imposed in relation to traffic management/limits on truck movements, hours of operation, noise control, dust management, water table protection, regular compliance inspections and requested that emphasis on the word ‘strenuous’ be magnified 20 times to reflect the change in scale since the Toodyay Shire’s submission.

Retired earth scientist Doug Blandford presented the shire with a 30-point detailed submission on the failure to address numerous environmental impacts and called on the shire to ask the applicant to present “a serious and professional management program, in terms of water management and rehabilitation procedures and protocols”.

Morangup resident John Morrell, an environmental professional specialising in the area of approvals, queried whether Federal legislation may be contravened if 100 trees - the nesting habitat of endangered Carnaby’s Cockatoos - were removed. Mr Morrell also disputed the shire staff’s finding that the gravel pit would have “no visual impact” and informed the meeting that the existing operation is already clearly visible to the 600 motorists using Dryandra Road daily.

Brett Ashlin, who lives in the ‘small white house’ which backs onto the gravel pit raised concerns about traffic impacts, noise, dust in his drinking water as well as falls in property prices.

Trico Resources representative Greg Kendall was the only member of the public to speak for the proposal which he said would enable the applicant to compete for larger contracts such as EastLink (Orange Route) and remove trucks from Mundaring town site.

Prior to the council voting to reject the application, Deputy Shire President Amy Collins raised concerns about water availability for dust suppression and the increase in truck movements. Cr Collins said that if the upper limit of gravel extraction was implemented, it would result in an extra three trucks passing through Gidgegannup every 12 minutes.

CrDarrell Jones supported the application because “all planning approvals are in place.”   “I agree that water issues and run-off are a concern, but I am very concerned we’re on thin ground here,” he said.

Whenever a development application is refused, the council must provide reasons for its decision which in this case are: environmental concerns; loss of amenity; traffic impacts and, no confirmation that the proposal will comply with all the required State regulations.

To date, there is no news on whether Swan Gravel/Trico Resources will contest the decision at the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT).

Existing gravel stockpiles are clearly visible from Dryandra Road and Red Brook Circle where this picture was taken.


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