DREAMLAND Quarry’s expansion was approved yesterday amid complaints of noise, heavy vehicles and alleged non-compliance by the operator.
The 17-hectare (42-acre) quarry 11 kilometres south-west of Bathurst along the Midwestern Highway has been in operation since the 1990s, and yesterday’s approval will see it continue to operate for another 50 years.
The development application was to expand the extraction of weathered granite gravel and sand, along with its screening and washing.
In addition, a progressive backfill and profiling of the extraction area would provide for future agricultural activities.
Prior to the approval, an outspoken group of Evans Plains residents voiced their concerns to the Western Joint Regional Planning Panel meeting held at council chambers.
Rosemary McKay lives just 400 metres from the quarry and attended yesterday’s meeting to speak about broken promises, noise and visual impacts on her property.
“They made promises to us in the 1990s ... few of those promises have been met,” she said.
Broken promises include operating times, visual impact and lack of a sufficient tree vegetation screen, according to Ms McKay.
“If these had been met, there would be a better reaction from the community,” she said.
A major concern for residents was a diesel pump used on the quarry that they say has run day and night for the past month.
“That’s a couple of hundred metres away from my bedroom window ... in the middle of the night it’s not conducive to sleep,” nearby resident John Windsor said.
Mr Windsor accused the quarry’s operators of non-compliance of imposed conditions since the operation started.
“There’s been constant non-compliance over the last 15 years. That’s been very aggravating and we’re a very close community,” he said.
He said clauses in the development application should be “water tight” and monitored for compliance.
JPAbusiness managing director James Price spoke on behalf of the applicant, Alchemy Pastoral Projects, and said his client was “very mindful” of issues raised by nearby residents.
He called for flexibility from residents on the quarry’s operations, but did “acknowledge visual and noise issues”.
While the development application started out with 39 conditions yesterday, the panel added an additional three prior to approval.
Among the conditions were restrictions on noise and operating hours. The panel called for a noise management plan, annual reports to be provided to adjoining property owners and reduced operating hours.
While weekday operations remain the same, 7am to 6pm, Saturday operations have been reduced by two hours from 8am-6pm to 8am-4pm.
No operational activities can be conducted on Sundays or public holidays.
The operation of the diesel pump, which Mr Price said was for farming, not quarry purposes, will be referred to the NSW Office of Water.
Bathurst mayor Gary Rush said council will monitor the compliance of all conditions listed in the development application.