On 15th April, the Working Group for People with an interest in Road Safety for the Waterfall Way met to discuss issues raised by the recent Development Application lodged by Sheridans Quarry. A copy of the notes from this meeting and relevant documents appear below. As a result of the Working Group meeting, it was decided to hold a public meeting on Wednesday 30th April – 6:00pm at the Uniting Church Hall in Bellingen.
Notes from Working Group Meeting 15th April 2014
The meeting commenced with a catch up on the correspondence caused by the announcement of the new DA received recently by Clarence Council from Sheridan’s Hard Rock Quarry at Hernani who have applied for an extension of their quarry activities by 2.47 times and the resulting truck movements. We also received a copy of a “Circular to Bellingen Councilors” and a letter of comment from Bellingen Council Planning Department.
This development application will be heard by the Joint Regional Planning Panel and you can Google this site if you need more details about the function of the JRPP. We immediately wrote to Clarence Council and asked for an extension to the submission date from the 28th April to the 12th May as it is important for us to get as many responses as possible to ensure the JRPP are in no doubt about how our community feels about this expansion of truck movements from Hernani to the Pacific Highway upgrade.
We calculated that 2.47 expansion at Hernani means 100 trucks x 2 = 200 and 2.47 = 550 with a total of 750 extra truck movements and an additional 400 movements from EMS Dorrigo giving us a grand total of 1100 truck movements per week. These calculations are approximate because of the way they are presented and we welcome any corrections and official confirmation of the numbers from Clarence County Council.
We are also seeking clarification about Paragraph 3 of the letter prepared by M.Hutchins of Bellingen Shire Council’s Planning Department when he speaks about the notation of Hours of Operation: “It is noted that the existing hours of operation which include Saturdays from 7.00am to 1.00pm. However, the proposed development does seek the right to operate to the maximum extraction volume for an additional 179 days per annum”
Bellingen Council in reply comments, “Accordingly, Bellingen Shire Council requests that regard be made to limiting haulage east along the Waterfall Way on Saturdays in order to minimise the potential for conflict between quarry generated traffic and tourist and visitor traffic experienced on weekends,
We ask for clarification about what the request for an extra 179 of use of Waterfall Way actually means in real terms and will this mean Saturdays and public holidays.
In Paragraph 4 of the response by Bellingen Shire Council to Clarence Council on the DA 2014/0098 there are references from the Environmental Impact Statement. We understand the original EIS used to make the decision for EMS at Dorrigo was compiled in 1993.
Paragraph 5 speaks about where “A Traffic and Transport assessment was made in 2010 and reports that, “there are relatively low volumes of traffic” and operates on a Level of Service (LOS) based on Australian guidelines, where LOS is “A condition of free flow in which individual drivers are virtually unaffected by the presence of others in the traffic stream”, and freedom to select desired speeds and to manoeuvre within the traffic stream is extremely high, and the general level of comfort provided is excellent” Such an assessment does not have regard to traffic conditions on the Waterfall Way east of Dorrigo or the cumulative impacts of the provision of quarry product to the Pacific Highway via the Waterfall Way.Bellingen council reports that there has been a serious omission in the presentation of the EIS as there has been no consultation with RMS
Bellingen Council goes on to say in the final paragraph of their letter of response, “Tourism is a major contributor to the economy of the Bellingen Shire, with 253.000 visitors injecting a value of $62m into the Shire in the four year period to September 2011(Destination NSW 2011). With the vast majority of tourists accessing Bellingen Shire through the Waterfall Way, the safe and efficient operation of the road network is significant in, marketability, accessibility and in encouraging return visitations. Such matters were considered in Bellingen Shire Council’s determination to prohibit haulage on weekends and public holidays from the Megan quarry. Old Coramba Rd.
We have since received confirmation from the Clarence Council that our request for an extension to the submission date from 28th April 2014 to 12th May 2014 has been granted.
Therefore, a public meeting has been organised for Wednesday 30th April, at 6pm at the Uniting Church Bellingen to discuss the above issues and to agree on a response to the JRPP