Community News

Iluka subdivision cleared of radiation threat

Radiation not a worry

The Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) has granted final approval of a 141-lot subdivision at Iluka.

The panel approved the subdivision “in principal” at a packed Iluka community hall on Thursday September 19, pending further analysis of radiation levels across the site.

The panel’s chair, Garry West, said at the meeting that while the entire site’s background radiation was rated below the minimum levels, the wording of Clarence Valley Council’s assessment “put us in a position where we would be at risk [of being taken to court] if we made a


decision today”.

Fellow panel member, Stephen Gow, said the council’s staff had drawn attention to “enough uncertainty” about the background radiation – a result of sand mining in the 1970s – “to warrant a review by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA)”.

In the interim period, Cardno (NSW/ACT) Pty Ltd conducted a “peer review of the [DA]-submitted Field Radiation Survey Report prepared by Earth Systems”.

The Cardno review concludes that it “generally agrees with the ‘Earth Systems’ conclusions [and] that the proposed development site is suitable for residential land use on the basis of the surface radiation exposure risk”.

The approval includes the following conditions to manage the radiation risk:

  • “The construction phase environmental management plan and OHS risk assessment include a requirement for visual identification of black mineral sand materials unearthed during excavations;
  • “Dust minimisation practices are employed at the site during construction;
  • “Any black deposits of mineral sand (or similar appearances) unearthed during excavation are examined for radiation activity by a suitably qualified consultant;
  • “If any sub-soil or excavation materials at the development site are found to be elevated in levels of radioactivity the materials must be assessed and disposed of in accordance with NSWEPA guidelines; and,
  • “Where such remediation works are required, a Validation Report prepared by a certified practitioner must be prepared to demonstrate any post remediation levels of radiation are compliant with acceptable thresholds for residential use.”

The updated CVC assessment report states: “Council staff are satisfied that the Earth Systems Field Radiation Survey and review and certification of the Earth Systems Field Radiation Survey Report by Cardno determine that the site is suitable for residential land use subject to additional conditions recommended Cardno review.