Quarry owners seek to lose time limit


RESIDENTS who successfully stopped a quarry at Dromana from being used as a tip are now gearing up to oppose approval being given to extend the life of the quarry.

If approved as requested, there would be no expiry date on the permit, allowing quarrying “for the life of the resource at the quarry”.

A previous planning permit expired on 23 March 2004 although Hillview says the quarry is allowed to operate under Work Authority 380.

Objectors will be arguing that the quarry is uneconomic and that by having an “open” permit its owners will not be required to spend up to an estimated $3 million rehabilitating the site.

Hillview Quarries is the applicant for the permit to operate the Boundary Rd (Old Pioneer) Quarry on land owned by Hillview and the philanthropic R E Trust (which owns Hillview).

A request for Mornington Peninsula Shire to amend the planning permit – to include no time limit and new noise levels – by Hillview CEO Paul Nitas states that by not doing so the cost of rock “would increase costs to the consumer in the future”.

Mr Nitas states there have been no changes to “ecological conditions” at the site since the issuing of the original permit and that ongoing use “would not result in any impacts outside of the approved operating area”.

The quarry has been operating since the 1960s, with the current permit being issued in 1998.

Although rock is not actively being quarried, Hillview says there are stockpiles on the site which is has always intended to sell.

It says concerns about the ongoing availability of rock outlined in the Plan Melbourne Refresh 2015 paper “clearly support the need to protect and make use of existing resources which are close to the demand areas [such as at Boundary Rd]”.

Hillview says removing expiry dates on the permit “is entirely consistent with Mornington Peninsula Planning Scheme prohibition on including time limits in extractive industry permit and reflects the latest knowledge about the remaining reserves at the site”.

The old Pioneer quarry was the one that Peninsula Waste Management Pty Ltd wanted to use for a rubbish tip, which was refused by the EPA two years ago. The plan was supported by Mornington Peninsula Shire.

Hillview/Ross Trust bought the old Pioneer quarry in 1998 for $1.24 million. It had already been earmarked as a potential rubbish tip site.

Pioneer had bought it in the early 1960s and took about 300,000 tonnes of granite over 35 years before closing the quarry in 1998 when it reached the limit of its licence. The bottom of the pit was well below the water table and is now about 42 metres deep.

Hillview/Ross Trust owns 121 Boundary Rd, the old Pioneer quarry, which is 18 hectares.

It owns another block of almost 65 hectares, 115 Boundary Rd, which wraps around three sides of the Pioneer quarry with the fourth side being Arthurs Seat State Park.

If Hillview starts a new pit, it will have to either transport rock to its crusher at the Hillview Quarry Drive site or build one near the new pit. It would also need a weigh station, staff quarters and other infrastructure.

“R E Ross formed Hillview Quarries Pty Ltd in 1968 and shortly after acquired T W Maw and Sons Pty Ltd, which operated small quarries on the site,” Hillview’s website states.

“Hillview and Maw formed a partnership to develop the site into a modern quarry operation, transforming the site from its seven small separate quarries to a single … operation and manufacturing plant.

“After some early disruptions due to clearing and permit challenges, Hillview reopened in 1971 with a new crushing plant and work plans that allowed the site to be opened up with modern quarrying practices.”

A new crushing plant was built in 2006.

With Michael Hast

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 2 August 2016


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