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Asphalt plant’s proximity to nature reserve: RMS responds

Geoff Helisma |

In last week’s story, ‘Woombah asphalt plant argy-bargy continues’, the Independent asked Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) to respond to a specific concern of the Woombah Residents Association.

The preferred site is located on the other side of the highway and near the Mororo Creek Nature Reserve, which is managed in accordance with the National Parks and Wildlife Act and the reserve’s 2012 plan of management (including the nearby Chatsworth Hill State Conservation Area).

Specifically, the residents association contended: “Petrochemicals such as diesel, tar, sulphur and crude oil entering the adjacent Mororo Creek Nature Reserve and its tributaries would be a disaster.

“The containment ponds already built nearly overflowed after just a brief winter shower.

“Is this the reason Pacific Complete commenced the groundwork to elevate the pad for the plant above the 1/100 year flood level over six months ago?”

The Independent asked the RMS: “If the preferred site at Woombah is ultimately selected, what assurance can RMS provide that the directly opposite National Parks & Wildlife Act-registered Mororo Creek Nature Reserve will not be compromised during extreme weather events?”

The RMS media unit provided the following statement: “Roads and Maritime Services takes environmental conservation and protection seriously and seeks to minimise, mitigate or compensate for the impact on sensitive ecology on all highway upgrade projects.

“Work to build the Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway upgrade was planned and is being carried out in line with the NSW Planning Minister’s Conditions of Approval and the approved Construction Environment Management Plan for the project.
“These documents are available to view at“External agencies regularly monitor and review the project’s performance against the Conditions of Approval and other key plans and licences.”