Residents fear Wellard sand mine plans

Stuart HortonSound Telegraph
Sand mine stock image.
Camera IconSand mine stock image.

Wellard, Casuarina and Oldfield residents are worried a proposed sand mine on the site of the former Banksia Road Rifle Range in Wellard will have adverse effects on the area and community.

The Sound Telegraph has been inundated with letters from residents in the suburbs, all writing to voice opposition to the proposal.

Among most concern to residents is the potential presence of silica dust, lead contamination of the air and ground water, noise pollution, an increase in trucks using roads not designed for large- scale heavy haulage, its proximity to Banksia Road, Leda and Modong nature reserves, and the impact it will have on nearby property values.

City of Kwinana has also objected to the sand mine, with Mayor Carol Adams saying she was “deeply concerned” by a proposal she called “not in the interests” of residents.

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“Several companies have repeatedly attempted to create a sand mine at this site, for over 20 years, and council has repeatedly advised against its construction, including meeting with the relevant ministers in an effort to stop the proposals as it is not in the interests of our local residents or the environment,” she said.

Nearby, the 26ha Banksia Road conservation reserve is covered in native vegetation and is home to almost 100 species of native fauna, including six conservation-significant species and colonies of Carnaby’s and red-tailed black cockatoos. “If approved, this mine would pave the way for broad-scale clearing of natural vegetation of unique Banksia woodlands in the Wellard area, resulting in an environment devoid of native flora and fauna,” Mrs Adams said.

“The City has surveyed the community a number of times to ensure we reflect the desires and concerns of our residents and we are consistently told that they place great value on the surrounding environment and Kwinana’s natural areas.” Sand mine proponent Hanson Australia said it was working on a thorough and comprehensive assessment process for the project, including rehabilitation of the site.

“The available natural top soil and flora seeds will be replaced on disturbed sections of land to return the area to a Banksia woodland as the mining is complete,” it said in a statement to the Sound. “The company has some of the world’s best expertise in this type of restoration at the company’s WA operations.

“In this case, the work will have the added advantage of cleaning up lead contamination from the historic use of the area as a rifle range.”

Meetings have been held by the City of Kwinana and Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale, with residents and local members of Parliament.

Hanson has received State environmental approval and is seeking Federal Government endorsement to move ahead with the project. The company has also discussed a community engagement plan with the State Government, Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale and the City of Kwinana.

“The company has committed to a sustained community consultation process to ensure that there is no significant impact on local residents,” Hanson said.

“The consultation will address road transport, noise monitoring, dust control and rehabilitation. The consultation group will also be involved in monitoring the environmental management program.”

The proposal can be viewed at Kwinana Public Library or www.pgv.net.au. The public comment period closes on Friday August 10.

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