The early part of 2013 will be an anxious time for Yandina Creek residents, as their future for at least the next 50 years is decided by the Environment and Planning court.
A battle weary Yandina Creek Progress Association (YCPA) and their ‘No Blasted Quarry’ fight team will stand up as co-respondents with Sunshine Coast Council in the new year to fight Neil Mansell’s plan for a massive quarry in Coolum’s peaceful Hinterland.
Council unanimously rejected Mr Mansell’s application in October last year after receiving over 4000 public objections, but the decision has since been appealed. All parties were called for their first court appearance in September, with a further court date scheduled early in 2013.
It has become an all too familiar routine for the residents, who fought and won a battle against the very same developer in 2007 – for a quarry site directly opposite the proposed hard rock quarry at McCords and North Arm-Yandina Creek Roads.
A recent community forum to update residents on the impending court battle was well-supported, with attendees hearing from President Alex Watson, Member for Nicklin Peter Wellington and Division 9 Cr Steve Robinson – as well as the group’s legal team.
“The price of freedom is vigilance. If we want to continue to enjoy the benefits of this, our beautiful rural environment and carefree lifestyle, we have to be vigilant to protect it from negative change,” Mr Watson explained.
“The YCPA is not an anti-business or anti-development organisation. But we want appropriate business and appropriate development that is in harmony with our peaceful lifestyle. It’s our right and responsibility to monitor what goes on in our community.”
Acknowledging that the time for talking about the proposal had passed, the group is asking the community to dig deep and urgently help raise the funds needed to continue fighting in court alongside Council.
It is estimated that, with the cost of expert witnesses, solicitors and barristers, around $100,000 will be needed to mount a substantial legal case.
YCPA has already managed to raise close to $50,000 through pledges and donations, and the best way people can help now is to pledge their financial support to the ‘No Blasted Quarry’ fight team.
If it goes ahead, the quarry will impact properties within 1000 metres of the blast zone, with the immediate issues being constant noise levels (similar to a freeway), dust, increased road traffic, safety concerns with blasting (fly rock can travel up to 2km) and a resultant decrease in property values.
With over 500,000 tonnes of rock being mined per year for up to 50 years, it’s expected that the quarry site will adversely affect residents in the Yandina Creek, Valdora, Maroochy River, Verrierdale, Ninderry, Yandina and North Arm areas.
But, with a quarry truck travelling the already notoriously unsafe Yandina-Coolum Road every five minutes, the affects would be felt by anyone using the highway.
Apart from donations to help fight the impending court battle, YCPA is also urging concerned community members to make a submission on the current Draft Planning Scheme to have the overlay maps identifying local resource/processing area and local separation area designations removed from the current area of concern, and several adjoining sites, to prevent them ever having to mount another hinterland quarry fight.
To get involved, donate, pledge your support and download a pro-forma submission form, go to www.quarryfight.com.au.
Submissions for council’s Draft Planning Scheme close on 14 December.