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This 161-lot subdivision at Carrs Drive is currently being raised by truckloads of fill. Image: Geoff Helisma

Fill haulage ‘has to be seen and heard to be believed’

Geoff Helisma | The constant coming and going of trucks hauling fill to a 161-lot subdivision at Carrs Drive, West Yamba is raising the ire of nearby residents. It’s just the beginning, though, as the entire area, which will eventually accommodate approximately 1,100 residential blocks, will need to be raised by an average of 1.5 metres – it has been estimated that this could take up to 275,000 truckloads of fill. A development application to fill two 21-hectare lots (52-54 Miles Street, which also fronts Carrs Drive) is currently being considered by Clarence Valley Council (CVC) – submissions to this DA closed on October 4. In an August 13 email to CVC’s general manager, a resident described her experience, in part: “It has to be seen and heard to be believed. “These trucks hurtle down the road every second or so, making houses shudder under the impact, screech their brakes to the consternation of following drivers, who as a result slam on their brakes as the truck turns into Carrs Drive. “I understand, with the amount of soil needed, this will go on for years.” Subsequently she emailed the mayor on August 19, then CVC again on August 30 and September 17 and finally on October 10, the day before the Independent sought answers regarding her concerns – none of the emails had received a response. The general manager, Ashley Lindsay, has since apologised to the resident and taken “full responsibility”. “We have had a misunderstanding between staff as to who was responding to [the resident],” Mr Lindsay said. He said haulage to the site currently being filled was expected to be completed in mid December, “subject to weather impacts”. Mr Lindsay said haulage activities to the Carr’s Drive site must be carried out between 7am and 6pm Monday to Friday and from 7am to 1pm on Saturdays, no work is permitted on Sundays or public holidays. The contractor is responsible for damage to the road surface in Carr’s Drive, which is expected to be repaired once the weather has passed. In July 2015, when the current development was being considered for approval by the Joint Regional Planning Panel, CVC’s environment planning and community director Des Schroder said there might be an alternative method to fill the land, involving “pumping sand from the bay”. However, Mr Lindsay said that CVC was unable to comment on this issue. In regard to trucks damaging Yamba Road, Mr Lindsay wrote in his response to the resident, in part: “Council is fully aware of the need to upgrade Yamba Road and, to that end, Council has made application to the NSW Government under their Growing Local Economies Fund for a Grant of $4.4million to upgrade the intersections along Yamba Road at Treelands Drive, Carrs Drive and Shores Drive. “The total project is estimated to cost $5.7million. “As the West Yamba area continues to develop Council will investigate further the opportunity to divert traffic away from the main Yamba Road. “The cost of this ‘alternative route’ into West Yamba is likely to be significant but it is an option that Council is still investigating.”