Geoff Helisma |
Clarence Valley Council (CVC) has approved the asphalt plant to be located at Tyson Street, South Grafton, next to the Pacific Highway.
The plant will produce between 30,000 to 100,000 tonnes of asphalt per year and operate Monday to Saturday between the hours of 5am and 6pm – with up to 10 Sundays and 50 night shifts per year if required.
During operation, the plant will generate, on average, 130 heavy vehicle movements, 12 light vehicle movements and staff traffic movements each day.
The site will be accessed via the Pacific Highway onto Tyson Street during daylight hours and the via the existing McLennan Earthmoving access off Tyson Street during night shifts.
The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is the regulatory authority and will oversee “water quality management, including the protection of Musk Valley Creek for polluted discharges, air quality impacts, particularly relating to bitumen odour and dust management, noise impacts, waste management, hours of operation, fuel and chemical storage and benchmarking against industry best practice”, the report to CVC’s July 23 meeting stated.
“A two metre high noise wall is proposed to be constructed on the property boundary between the adjoining residence at 3D Tyson Street and the plant … [and on] the western side of the site adjacent to 3D Tyson Street, to mitigate noise impacts on that residence.
“The construction of the plant is estimated to take a maximum of 2 months and … the operational period of the plant is not likely to exceed 10 years.”
The plant is rated as ‘designated development’ – developments that are high-impact (for example, likely to generate pollution) or are located in or near an environmentally sensitive area (for example, a wetland), according to the NSW Department of Planning.
The application was referred to councillors for a decision, the report to council stated, “to consider the potential impacts, issues raised in the  submissions and [a] request to vary the 9 metre height specified [in] the … Local Environmental Plan”.
Council staff’s can only approve a height variation of up to 10 per cent under their delegated authority – the proposal is for a 122.2 per cent variation for the tower and 38.8 per cent variation for the silos.
During debate at the council meeting, Cr Andrew Baker pointed out that the general terms of approval were issued by EPA.
He said that “having an expert regulatory authority” overseeing the plant’s operation and conditions “takes a lot of the consideration away from me as a councillor”.
Councillor Greg Clancy was concerned that the plant posed a threat to nearby Musk Valley Creek.
He said he was “not convinced” enough had been done regarding potential pollution events and how nearby residents might be affected.
Cr Debrah Novak said “150 people [would be] affected” by the plant.
“Their voices need to be heard,” she said. “We are here for the people, the EPA for the applicant.
“I know the issues have been addressed, but if anything goes wrong the people in South Grafton will be affected.”
Councillor Karen Toms said CVC would find itself in the Land and Environment Court if it did not approve the application.
“They’ve met all of the [conditions] except for the heights.
“That is why it’s come to us (Councillors)”.
Councillor Arthur Lysaught said an industrial zone was the right place to locate the plant and that councillors had been advised at the previous week’s committee meeting that there would be 18 fulltime jobs during construction and 22 fulltime jobs when the plant is operational.
Councillors Simmons, Williamson, Baker, Kingsley and Toms voted in favour of approval; councillors Novak, Ellem and Clancy were opposed.