Kalgan residents’ concern over gravel pit proximity

Gareth ThomasAlbany Advertiser

A group of Kalgan residents have expressed disappointment and frustration at the City of Albany council’s reluctance to place more emphasis on their concerns when members approved a gravel quarry opposite their houses.

The council resolved at its April 26 ordinary meeting to allow the development of a gravel pit on land at the intersection of South Coast Highway and Churchlane Road.

The gravel quarry will be 369m from the closest dwelling, which has residents worried about dust and noise impacts.

Churchlane Road resident Paul Salmon said the council had been legitimate in its dealings with the gravel quarry application but it had placed very little emphasis on the concerns of the residents living nearby.

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Mr Salmon said if the proposed quarry was moved to 1km from the Churchlane Road there would be no problem and he was frustrated at the lack of will from councillors to consider compromising..

“They’ve had the same issue with Prideaux Road where the pit is right in front of the road, right in front of the residents and everyone is up in arms about it,” he said.

“The council (is) saying ‘we really do need to fix this’, but it is always ‘next time’.

“And it just goes on and on and on.”

Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington said the council was empathetic to the concerns of the community regarding the extractive industry on South Coast Highway in Kalgan and had undertaken a site visit and met with residents as part of its decision-making process. “The application for extraction of gravel on site 45720 met all the planning requirements and buffers, however, it was still a hard decision for council to make, but under the Planning and Development Act, council is required to assess each application purely on planning grounds,” he said.

“This lot has been a quarry for many years and was clearly identified in the Kalgan Rural Village Structure Plan, which also detailed the buffer zones for the area.

“Council’s endorsement has simply extended the extractive industry licence on this lot subject to a number of strict planning conditions to protect the amenity of the nearby village.”

Mr Wellington said extractive industries provided crucial material for the building and construction industry in Albany, which had positive flow-on effects for employment, the economy and lifestyle.

Another Churchlane Road resident and father of a child suffering with leukaemia, Nigel Baker, said he was not sure why the council would come to speak to local residents if members knew the project would be given a green light regardless.

He hoped residents speaking up would help change regulations.

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