Quarry court action discussed

Mayor Clare Stewart addresses a public meeting to discuss court action against Kin Kin Quarry. Photos: Rob Maccoll

By Margaret Maccoll

With mental health issues on the rise and residents deserting the area, Kin Kin has become a community destroyed by one business, Save Noosa Hinterland president Sarah Keating told a public meeting at Pomona last Thursday to discuss Noosa Council’s court action again the Kin Kin Quarry.

“It’s difficult for a small town like Kin Kin that the Minister has probably never visited,“ she said.

Sarah praised Mayor Clare Stewart for listening to the community and taking action against the quarry and thanked Noosa MP Sandy Bolton for her continuing pressure on the Transport and Main Roads Minister and department to increase safety on the roads and seek changed legislation to improve the situation.

Ms Bolton said it had been a long and difficult journey but the community had become unified like never before. She said there was an increase in police presence and heavy haulage compliance, crews were constantly repairing damage from the trucks (an indication the roads weren’t able to deal with it) and an assessment of the road currently underway.

Local resident Nicky told the meeting how her horse riding business had lost one-third of its business because the quarry trucks, in numbers up to 288 per day, made it unsafe for her horses to access Noosa Trails.

Residents raised concerns about the safety of school children on their way to and from the school bus, those who walked or rode pushbikes alongside roads with no footpaths and crossed roads to schools, day care or playgrounds, including Hill Street, Pioneer Road and Reserve Street with trucks thundering past.

Others spoke about trucks travelling on the roads as early as 4am, were sure they were speeding on roads and knew they were taking alternative routes.

Police OIC Dan McNamara said police monitored the roads every day. He said there were almost no incidences of trucks detected speeding, though he acknowledged truck drivers radioed one another to warn them when police were sighted on the roads. He urged residents to email him if they witnessed trucks breaking the rules.

Cr Stewart said it had been more than a year since she initiated stakeholder roundtable meetings on the issue and heard the angst, frustration and the impact the trucks had made on peoples’ lives.

She thanked residents who had gathered information and written affidavits to support council’s application lodged recently in the Planning and Environment Court calling for the enforcement of reduced quarry truck movements.

“In court we can’t guarantee what the outcome will be, but your voices will be heard,“ she said.

Council chief executive officer Brett de Chastel told attendees there would be two stages in the court process with an application for interim orders to stop truck movements during school bus times before a permanent application for reduced truck numbers which was expected to play out through a “full blown trial“.

Council is very committed to this project and has put a lot of resources into it, but the reality is, the quarry is there and we have to be realistic about what we ask for, he said.

Cr Stewart said the court would order mandatory mediation and they would be taking advice from their solicitors and barristers.

She said if council was successful in its application, the court would make orders which, if broken, would be a serious breach of the law. To break it would be in contempt of court, they may face jail time.

“They would be mad to do that,“ she said.

Mr de Chastel said if a court order was made, it would be up to council to enforce it.