Council rejects Barro Group Mt Cotton quarry extension

Redland City Council today rejected the Barro Group application to extend the size and operation of their quarry at Mt Cotton.

Based on a number of planning and environmental grounds, the meeting voted nine to one to reject the application to quarry up to 1 million tonnes of ‘meta-grewackle’ annually for the construction industry.

The proposal would have extended the quarrying site by an additional 52 hectares from 14 hectares and the life of the quarry operation to 60 to 70 years.

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said the decision was a clear expression of the strong community opposition to the proposal and its significant impact on existing environmental habitats, close proximity to existing rural residential houses and local businesses such as nurseries, cafés and guest houses.

“Despite acknowledgement by Council that today’s decision may well be challenged by the State Government or on appeal, Council must consider the broader aspects of the community expectations and amenity.

“This is a very difficult case. It is a decision that should not have been left to the Council.

“Council has effectively been neutered by the planning legacy left by the previous government.

“There was no consultation with local government regarding designation of Key Resource Areas and Councils have very little ability to act in the local interest for developments such as this.

“In this case, there is a clear conflict between the State and the local interest and Council sincerely hopes the state government considers the interests of local government as we review the SEQ Regional Plan and State Planning Scheme.

“Redland City Council appreciates the importance of State resources such as quarries within a developing economy, but it has to be compatible and not adversely affect local residents and businesses.

Planning and Development spokesperson and Division 6 Councillor, Julie Talty said Council’s decision today was one made for the people of Redland City.

“Their views have been articulated by thousands of petitioners over several years, over 1000 submissions made against the proposal last year and a packed public gallery at today’s meeting that included councillors from neighbouring areas of Logan City.

“This application was essentially a substantial new quarry that has raised numerous community concerns about an increase in truck movements and increases in noise, dust and habitat destruction which have all been approved by State assessment agencies.

“The Committee’s decision today will refer the proposal back to the State Minister and we call upon the State Government to fully consider these local issues when weighing up their decision.

The successful motion put by Councillor Talty to reject the application argued that;

1. The proposed extension is actually a new quarry, extracting new material from a different location on the site, with a significantly greater scale than the existing quarry.

2. The proposed development is not consistent with the reasonable expectations of the local community, because the proposal is for a completely separate quarry which is of a significant scale and will operate in close proximity to adjoining rural residential properties.

3. The applicant has failed to demonstrate that the new quarry can be constructed and operated in such a manner as to protect the amenity of the surrounding sensitive receptors.

4. The applicant has failed to adequately define and apply suitable noise criteria to assess protection of amenity for the surrounding sensitive receptors.

5. The proposal will not maintain or enhance the rural residential amenity of the surrounding area through the minimisation of environmental nuisance occurring through the operation and construction of the quarry.

6. The proposal adversely impacts on and limits the future enhancement of the surrounding economic tourism opportunities.

7. A large number of submissions have been received objecting to the proposal, which raise valid planning grounds.

8. The proposed development is in conflict with the following provisions of the Redlands Planning Scheme:
a. Part 3.1.4, Desired Environmental Outcome No. 3 – Community Health and Wellbeing;
b. Part 3.1.7, Desired Environmental Outcome No. 6 – Economic Development;
c. Overall Outcomes 2(a)(i) and 2(c) for the Rural Non-Urban Zone;
d. Overall Outcome 2(a)(iv) for the Extractive Industry Code; and
e. Specific Outcomes S2.1 to S2.4 of the Extractive Industry Code.

9. There are not sufficient grounds to warrant approval of the proposed development having regarding to the nature and extent of the conflict with the Redlands Planning Scheme.

10. That the development proposal be immediately referred to the relevant State Minister to assess the proposal, in particular the decisions of the State agencies, under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009.