MITCHELL Shire councillors voted unanimously to deny a planning permit application for a quarry south of Wallan at tonight’s ordinary council meeting.
An officers’ report presented to councillors recommended the planning permit for the North Central Quarry, by operator Conundrum Holdings, be refused.
The report found the planned quarry site unsuitable for a number of reasons, including: negative impact on the Northern Growth Corridor; negative impact on the orderly planning of the area; negative impact on the future residential use of the land; negative impacts on the landscape character, values and visual appearance of the surrounding area; and negative future social impacts in the immediate and wider area surrounding the subject site.
Cr Bob Cornish said he shared the concerns of Wallan residents who presented to council at last week’s community questions and hearings meeting.
“Residents have been greatly concerned about the noise, dust and amenity of the area,” he said.
“I have seen growing traffic in Wallan in recent years, and this will make it worse.”
Cr Christine Banks echoed Cr Cornish’s concerns about the heavy traffic a quarry would bring.
“The traffic issues would be a very big problem. We already have a problem with traffic and it’s only going to worsen,” she said.
“People move out here for peace and quiet and fresh air, and I don’t think [the quarry application is] in any way compatible with that way of life.”
Deputy Mayor Nathan Clark said the number of jobs projected to be created by the quarry – a maximum of 27 – was not enough to justify building it.
Cr Annie Goble labelled the quarry ‘a planning obscenity’, while Cr Fiona Stevens suggested people ‘speak up, speak loudly’ to the State Government to oppose the quarry.
In a statement, a Conundrum Holdings spokesperson said the group was ‘concerned’ by council’s decision.
“Mitchell Shire Council has again chosen to turn its back on this significant rock resource and the diverse job opportunities which underpin this essential industry,” the statement said.
“The resource was drilled in 2004 and has been identified in government reports since 2009. The quarry was shown in a draft Beveridge North West Precinct Structure Plan (PSP) in 2014 however the mapped reference in the precinct plan was removed in September 2018.
“Notwithstanding this, and independent planning panel (made up of planning professionals appointed by the Minister for Planning) last year spent four weeks reviewing and testing the existing Beveridge North West PSP. They made the recommendation in chief ‘to revise [the amendment] to explicitly include precinct level planning for resource extraction from Work Authority 1473’.
“Support of the proposal was neither fairly nor accurately recognised in the council report. There were in excess of 291 submitters, all of whom articulated the necessity and significance of this application and represent many thousands of individuals working in the Victorian economy.
“By forming the position to not support this application, council has chosen to disregard the independent planning panel, long-term planning of the region with respect to extractive industry interest areas, and those businesses and individuals who are dependent upon our industry for their livelihood.
“Conundrum strongly believes we need to meet our social responsibilities with respect to minimising carbon footprint and containing costs of quarry products for future generations. The success of this application will continue Melbourne’s long history of utilising those basalt resources as close as practical to the end user.
“Updated information always has been and remains available on our website conholdings.com.au/north-central-quarry“
Conundrum Holdings will have an opportunity to apply for a review of the permit application with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
- The landowner of the proposed quarry location is Wally Mott. Mr Mott is also an owner of the North Central Review.