Plans to dump waste in an old quarry at Bell

No WestConnex waste here: Sean Butler, Kaye Whitbread, Hope Fletcher and Nicola Madden (front) and fellow residents on Sandham Road, Bell.
No WestConnex waste here: Sean Butler, Kaye Whitbread, Hope Fletcher and Nicola Madden (front) and fellow residents on Sandham Road, Bell.

Waste from Sydney’s infrastructure projects may be dumped in Bell, if the owner of the old quarry at Newnes Junction gets its way.

Plans to fill the quarry with about 1.5 million cubic metres of fill from major infrastructure projects have been outlined in a letter to residents along Sandham Road, which runs from Bells Line of Road to the quarry.

Residents fear that for the next 10 to 15 years, more than 30 large trucks a day will be driving past their houses on a narrow road.

They are also concerned about potential damage to the World Heritage Area from weeds or other contaminants in the waste.

Nicola Madden and Hope Fletcher said the plan was “both logistically unrealistic and demonstrably social irresponsible”.

Ms Fletcher said it was not only the noise and disruption of the trucks, it was also the environmental damage.

“The biggest thing is the environmental impact of what they are trying to do, dumping all that shit there.”

Residents fear it would destroy the sleepy little region, which is at the northernmost edge of the Blue Mountains Council area (the quarry itself is in Lithgow Council territory).

Greens councillor Kerry Brown, who planned to raise the issue at last night’s council meeting, said the suggestion that waste from projects like WestConnex or Badgerys Creek airport should be dumped in the Mountains was of major concern.

“We need to make it clear to the state government that the quarry must be rehabilitated as originally approved, not turned into a waste dump for fill from Sydney’s infrastructure projects.”

She believed the original approval called for the quarry’s terracing to be replanted and the below-water level excavations to be converted into swamps.

Greens NSW MP Dr Mehreen Faruqi queried who would check the fill.

“We don’t know exactly where this fill will come from, but it could be the WestConnex project where there is already a poor record of waste disposal,” she said.

“I really question the capacity of authorities to monitor over a million tonnes of excavated material being disposed of in a sensitive environment.”

The quarry company did not respond to calls.