PREPARATIONS for the Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway upgrade have moved ahead with the approval for a disused quarry to be re-opened at Kungala.
It is the second major quarry approved recently, while another at Nymboida is waiting for assessment next month, and a proposal at Tullymorgan to be assessed by NSW Major Projects.
Residents who live along Kungala Rd are going to get an upgraded, wider road out of the arrangement, but they are far from happy about it.
They are more concerned by the heavy trucks that will use the road - carrying up to 250,000 tonnes of rock and sand each year for the Pacific Highway upgrade - and the effects the trucks and blasting at the quarry will have on the environment, the value of their homes and their peaceful, rural existence.
Despite their passionate pleas to the Northern Joint Regional Planning Panel at Halfway Creek Hall, Kevin Holmes's submission for the quarry at 690 Kungala Rd, Kungala, was given the go ahead, pending a list of about 60 conditions aimed to lessen the impact on the local residents.
By the end of an emotionally draining three-hour meeting none of the locals was happier about the development.
Their mood wasn't made any better by what they claimed was lack of notification of the meeting and the project.
"Someone will be killed," was Julie Blenkiron's frank assessment of the risk created by the number of truck movements along Kungala Rd from the quarry to the existing highway at Halfway Creek.
"The road is no good for what's there now so add on another how many trucks an hour for 10 or 11 hours a day, there's no way that road will stand it."
The issue of safety led to a condition being added by the panel that would stop trucks using the road 30 minutes either side of morning and afternoon school bus pick-ups and drop-offs.
A neighbour of the quarry who said her house is 650m from where blasting will occur, said she was told by Clarence Valley Council when purchasing the land five years ago the quarry would not reopen.
"The council need to make a decision; do they want rural residential or do they want do drive everyone out," she said.
She also wants to know if she is going to be alerted when blasting is to occur.
Planner Paul Snellgrove, who prepared the application for Mr Holmes, told the meeting of the steps being taken to meet the community's concerns.
He said blasting would only occur between 9am and 3pm Monday to Friday, and while one blast per day was permitted, they would in reality happen less frequently. Those close by would receive 24 hours' notice of blasting.
Clarence Valley Council director Des Schroder said there had been no rezoning of the land.
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