A proposal that could see more loaded trucks coming through Dorrigo and Bellingen from Sheridan’s Hard Rock Quarry, Hernani has had the brakes put on it by the Northern Joint Regional Planning Panel. (See previous story here)
The panel met in Dorrigo on December 15 to consider the quarry’s requested increase of their daily limit of 20 loaded trucks to a maximum of 66 from Monday to Friday plus 36 on Saturdays.
Bellingen Shire residents concerned about the economic and health impacts on the communities of the increase, spoke at the hearing.
Following the presentations the panel voted to postpone their decision pending more information.
Panel chair Garry West said the panel had requested to applicant to provide more recent data about potential traffic impacts of more trucks travelling through the towns.
“The last traffic assessment was done in 2010, which does not reflect the current traffic situation, especially the impact on the road pavement along the haulage route,” Mr West said.
“We also felt there had been insufficient consultation with Bellingen Shire residents (the DA was determined by the Clarence Valley Council as the quarry lies within its shire boundaries).”
He said the council had been asked to give “further consideration to the application” in the light of the issues raised as well as to discuss the issue of monitoring the number of trucks leaving the quarry.
“We felt this is needed so the council can adequately monitor for compliance.”
A spokeswoman for the residents, Pauline Kidson, said she was grateful that community comments had been heard.
“The idea of electronic monitoring is something we raised and the panel thought it was a good idea,” Ms Kidson said.
“There were no representatives of the council or the Roads and Maritime Service at the meeting. We would like to meet with both councils and the RMS to discuss a long term solution to the fact that the traffic between the tablelands and the coast is increasing.
“Tourism is vital to our local economy and that could be threatened by issues of noise and also air quality. We want to work towards a better solution.”
She said residents were planning to call public meetings in Bellingen and Dorrigo after the Christmas break.