MITCHELL Shire councilors called a proposed career in South Wallan a ‘planning monstrosity’ at last week’s council meeting as they approved a submission to a ministerial advisory committee considering the matter.
Councilors were unanimous in their condemnation of the proposed quarry as they ticked off a formal submission to the Victorian Planning Authority, VPA, regarding changes to the C158 and C161 layout plan to the structure plan for the North Wall. west of Beveridge, PSP, which if implemented would allow the career to continue.
The Ministerial Advisory Committee will review the two amendments from May and make a recommendation to Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne, who has the final say on the plans.
Cr Rob Eldridge said the council’s 31-page submission set out many reasons why a career should not continue.
“The quarry can have many financial, physical, environmental and social impacts, which are detrimental to the health and well-being of future residents of the area,” he said.
“Our brief is about the overall negative impacts of the quarry on infrastructure, quality of life, our ability to fund the delivery of infrastructure in a timely manner and essentially renders this whole enclosure inaccessible while the quarry is there.
“The staff did a great job on this and they led the charge with a career-averse defense group.
“There are no good points in this career. There are so many negatives with this it’s unbelievable.
Cr Bob Cornish said several experts had submitted to a previous independent planning committee that there would be a cost of between $800m and $1bn in the form of delayed investment in the Beveridge North West area if the career continued.
Cr Cornish said there was ‘no rational economic basis’ to support a quarry given other basalt supplies from nearby areas, including Shenstone Park PSP.
Cr Nathan Clark said the timing of the career proposal was inappropriate given an expected population boom in the Beveridge and Wallan areas over the next 20 years.
“I wonder if, when we consider a career, the right time for it was 30 years ago and it should be coming to the end of its life now,” he said.
“Then we would consider bringing it back into the proposed development that has been proposed and planned by both the state government and Mitchell. [Shire Council].”
Cr Annie Goble said a PSP panel hearing at Shenstone Park showed there were ‘tens of millions of tonnes of basalt supply’ north of Melbourne, rendering the need for a quarry redundant Beveridge North West PSP.
“I hope we can adequately represent the absurdity of this to the ministerial advisory committee and that he will present the minister with sound advice, which I think would align with the view of our council,” he said. she declared.
Cr Rhonda Sanderson said the career proposal presented a binary choice to the advisory board.
“For me, it’s a clear choice: it’s either community or rock – one or the other,” she said.
While most of the submissions centered on the proposed career, other topics included the future plans of Burrung Buluk, formerly known as Hanna Swamp, and the future of Old Sydney Road and other projects from infrastructure.
People can read the submission in the board meeting minutes by visiting www.mitchellshire.vic.gov.au/about-council/council-meetings/agendas-and-minutes.