Blue Mountains residents speak out against quarry rehab plan

Road safety and environmental concerns were among the issues raised as residents near Bell Quarry spoke out against a proposed rehabilitation project at Lithgow City Council's February 25 meeting. 

The proposal is to fill the former quarry site with "clean fill" from earthwork projects, drawn from the Sydney region as well as the local area. 

Mount Victoria resident Paul Hopkins wrote a letter to council objecting on several grounds, including the safety of road users as trucks hauled in a planned 1.2 million cubic metres of material over a 15 year period.  

"Truck movements under this proposal will be travelling through each village every five to eight minutes. The visual, noise and monoxide pollution created will significantly impact the entire region and would be added on top of the already heavily used corridor by heavy vehicles heading to the western plains," he stated. 

"Tourism will continue to provide far more financial and associated benefits to the region than will be provided by fees from the operation of a waste dump in the Bell Quarry."

In an open letter to Lithgow Council, Mount Wilson resident Richard Beattie shared concerns about safety, not only on our roads, but during fires. 

"Following the devastating 2013 State Mine Fire the communities in the vicinity of the quarry recognise more than ever the critical importance of the quarry water source for helicopter water bombing during the forever ongoing serious bushfire threat," he wrote. 

"I was at home on the October night the fire roared out of the valley immediately in front of our home. Because of the steepness of the escarpment the whole side went up as one. It looked like the sun roaring up to engulf everything in its way.

"Two homes were lost nearby at Mount Irvine that night. There will be more fires like that. Luckily no one’s life was lost that night.

"Next time it just might be the water available from the quarry that will save human life and homes. Huge numbers of animals died in that fire and their numbers have by no means returned to anything like those lost five years ago."

Lithgow councillors voted unanimously to lodge a submission to the Joint Regional Planning Panel to reject the application. The proposal is expected to be determined by the panel later this year, following further submissions.