MidCoast Council has several concerns about a proposed hard rock quarry at Karuah, including its impact on notice flora and fauna.
The application seeks consent for a hard rock quarry at Lot 11, DP 1024564, (No.61) Blue Rock Close, Karuah. The applicant is Wedgerock Pty Ltd and the landowner is M J Kiely.
The application for the "State Significant Development" has been submitted to the Department of Planning and Environment. MidCoast Council was asked to comment on the application and its planning and assessment staff reviewed the environmental impact statement.
The proposed quarry is located south of the existing Karuah Quarry.
Council's senior ecologist, Mat Bell said in his report that the proposal would cause the clearing and loss of a relatively large area of important native vegetation and affect local populations of a number of threatened species.
"It is a concern that cumulative quarrying proposals are being advance in this local landscape in the absence of a strategic framework," the report said.
"These developments, cumulatively, have the potential to fragment habitats and contribute to local wildlife extinctions, biodiversity loss, environmental pollution and amenity loss."
Mr Bell challenged the Biodiversity Development Assessment Report (BDAR) accompanying the application, saying in his opinion, it was "not based on complete and accurate field survey effort and understates the significance of the habitat to be removed for wildlife connectivity and its contribution to the area of habitat necessary for local populations of some threatened species needed to maintain their lifecycles."
Threatened species previously recorded in the area or near the quarry footprint included plants such as tetratheca juncea, grevillea parviflora subspecies parviflora and asperula asthenes and fauna such as koalas, prush-tailed phasogales, grey-headed flying fox, eastern freetail bat, greater broadnosed bat, eastern false pipistrelle, eastern bentwing bat, little bentwing bat, Stephens banded snake, glossy black cockatoo, powerful owl and varied sitella.
Council resolved at its June meeting to advise the Department of Planning and Environment it has serious concerns about the proposal and highlights the significant community and environmental concerns including but not limited to:
- Inadequate biodiversity assessment by the applicant
- Discharge to Port Stephens tributaries
- Water Quality Safeguards
- Public health issues
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