Council hears opposition to mine expansion

PRODUCTIVE: Council chief executive Darryl Whicker reviews plans with Deborah Prescott following the meeting as residents and Mayor Sage look on.

Elsie Adamo

ELECTED members and staff from Grant District Council visited Compton residents this week to hear their concerns first-hand about a proposed limestone quarry expansion.

On Wednesday, the meeting was held at Leighton and Debbie Neill’s property which overlooks land owned by Sandyridge where the quarry could be extended into.

The meeting follows a deputation to the council in April during which Mr Neill and James Prescot expressed disappointment about the council’s ‘in principle’ support of an application for the proposed expansion.

In attendance from council were chief executive officer Darryl Whicker, Mayor Richard Sage and councillors Gillian Clayfield, Megan Dukalskis, Kylie Boston, Barry Kuhl and Shirley Little.

The meeting allowed other nearby residents to explain what they viewed as oversights in the planning and consultation process.

Residents claimed the consultation outlined by the applicant, Sandyridge, was not adequate.

Ms Neill claimed previous mitigation tactics such as tree planting to minimise impacts from the quarry have not been appropriately managed by the business and said she placed little trust in future promises.

Sandyridge declined to comment while the application process is ongoing.

The council is not part of the approval process for the application but can advocate on the issue if they choose to do so.

Following the meeting, Mr Whicker said he believed it had been productive.

“I think it was a good experience for council residents to get together and nut out the root cause of some of the issues,” Mr Whicker said.

“I see it as a positive step.

“We did manage to get some outcomes here, and we did manage to understand first-hand some of the issues that the residents brought to the table.”

During the meeting, Mr Whicker reminded residents the council’s role was to advocate for all residents and businesses, which included Sanydridge and anyone else involved or impacted by the business activities.

“There is always that balance between the residents immediately in close proximity to developments but there is also a whole of council perspective and then the greater Mount Gambier and Limestone Coast perspective as well,” Mr Whicker said.

“We will come back and look at our position and do some fair and balanced advocacy and feed that back to those that are here today.”

Mr Neill commended those who attended for making the effort.

“I pushed the issue at the meeting and I did not expect this many to come,” Mr Neill said.

“It was good to see some councillors here to see from our point of view exactly what is going to happen from our perspective.

“The Mines Department will determine what happens from here.”

The residents said they will be exercising their right to reject the application to the Department of Energy and Mining.

If there are objections from residents within 400 metres of the proposed expansion, of which there are eight, a mediation process would follow.