Residents of Lennox Head and the Ballina Greens are opposing a proposal to create a new 3.2 million tonne sand mine on Newrybar Swamp Road, saying an existing mine in the area is already exceeding its extraction approvals and creating a blight on the coastal landscape.
The No Sand Mine for Lennox group said that following its investigation of the existing mine, Ballina Shire Council admitted that despite quarterly statements being submitted to the council clearly outlining the over extraction, council have not contacted the miners to discuss their over extraction, nor imposed any restrictions or fines.
Newrybar resident and Greens member Nathan questioned if the council was unwilling or unable to control the extraction rates of the existing mine, how would it manage the much larger site.
‘We would like to question whether council understands or is monitoring the impact on the very sensitive Newrybar Swamp and North Creek. The over extraction of 115,000 tonnes of material means that there has been about 115 million litres of water displaced.’
‘The new mine is proposing a much, much larger sand mine for that same area,’ he added.
‘Locals are already concerned about the number of trucks on the road, whether environmental concerns are being monitored correctly as acid sulphate soil issues, water runoff, habitat loss and agricultural land loss.
‘Then there are the trucks, the noise, the damage to local infrastructure, safety and the fact the tab for any damage will have to be picked up by ratepayers.
‘So that’s what motivated us to have a bit of a look into it and check what’s happening with the current mine,’ he said.
Lennox Head resident and group spokesperson Amelia Hicks said that on council’s statements the group estimates ‘there have been 18,000 extra truck movements’ east and west on Ross Lane in 2016 ‘which equates to 62 additional truck movements per day’.
‘Last week I was behind two trucks with dog trailers travelling up Ross Lane, two more were coming down at the same time and they had to pass a cyclist. Not only was I halted to 30km an hour, but it was just so unsafe,’ Ms Hicks said.
Macadamia Castle owner Tony Gilding described the existing mine as ‘a blight on the landscape.’
‘The council has been part of a programme to promote Hinterland Way as an iconic tourist drive,’ he said.
‘One of the most beautiful flood plains in Australia is being mined and it looks terrible.
‘There is a strong thread in all north coast planning documents that this type of development should occur west of the highway and not between the highway and the ocean. This is the wrong place for active large scale mines,’ Mr Gilding said.